Great Thoughts

Teachers new to inquiry-based teaching often experience an epiphany that will transform how they understand learning and how they approach teaching.

Today, twenty-four teachers who teach in Inquiry Science Institute partner schools are coming to the end of a week-long intensive institute focused on using an inquiry approach with the Next Generation Science Standards in their elementary classrooms. At the end of each day we either have each teacher do an exit slip that helps them reflect on the learning of that day or we ask them to collaborate as a team on one.  We display these around the room so that teachers can see each other’s thoughts.   Now, at the end of  “Intro to Inquiry” we asked them to reflect on how their thinking has changed, what insights into teaching and learning they’ve had over the course of the week.  Here are some of their great thoughts.

“Sometimes less is more.  Pausing, waiting and directing questions more purposely will help me be more inquiry focused.”

“I want to do less talking and allow my students to be the facilitators of the class discussion.”

“Give students more opportunities to think BIG! I won’t know it’s too challenging until I challenge them with it!”

“If thinking is building new constructions from facts, then I must give my students time to think.”

“Exploration is a centerpiece of inquiry, kicking off the process, engaging learners and piquing curiosity.”


Providing time for exploration is key to correctly implementing inquiry-based instruction.

“The most important thing about inquiry teaching is …

  • giving students the opportunity to explore
  • getting kids to think
  • that it is student driven
  • that it fosters discovery
  • having clear objectives and a purpose for each activity.”
Inquiry is collaborative.

Inquiry is collaborative.

What do you think is the most important thing about inquiry teaching?

~ Penny

You can learn more about Golden Apple’s Inquiry Science Institute here:


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