My copy of "Inquiry-Based Learning Using Every Day Objects" by Amy Edmonds Alvarado and Patricia R. Herr arrived on Monday!
This book is really inspiring! I'm just beginning to read it, and had tried out an idea from it before I got the book - because I'm a keener, I guess! I brought a larch conch shell in for the students' first object inquiry. They began practicing their questioning skills, and using research skills to find answers. The students came up with all kinds of questions about it. Some were for quick surface knowledge, like, "Where did you get it?", whereas other questions were openers to deeper learning, like, "Why is there a colour pattern on the shell?", "Why is it a spiral?" and "Why does it sound like a toilet flushing?". That one was my favourite!
Today they researched patterns in conch shells, which led to so much more. One group learned the anatomy of the conch and its stages of development. Another group found a video on how to play a conch shell as a wind instrument, and they tried it! By the way, it's not as easy as it looks! Yet another group discovered that the conch is an endangered species because of overfishing, and that it's a food source for sea turtles. The kids began to link this to their knowledge of Canadian endangered species, and the need to protect wildlife.
The students were very excited about what they were finding! They were super engaged and were becoming the experts. This inquiry was a first run at what I'll be doing more of. I have set up an Inquiry Centre in the class, where the object of inquiry can be seen and touched.
Have a great day!