How can we build a high-quality and engaging Inquiry unit?
When educators first begin on the inquiry learning journey, it can feel overwhelming when you begin the process of planning a unit of inquiry. Here are a series of questioning prompts and programming examples that will support you as you engage with each phase of the inquiry planning process.
Framing the inquiry:
Framing the inquiry is an essential part of knowing the content and how to teach it (Australian Professional Standards for Teachers - standard 2). These question prompts will help you to map out the big ideas of the inquiry unit and help you to examine the key concepts present in this unit, e.g. sustainability.
Syllabus and Cross-Curriculum Links:
What outcomes do I need to address?
What are the cross-curriculum priorities & general capabilities addressed in this unit?
What opportunities are there for harnessing other KLAs to build a broader picture of learning?
Knowledge, Understanding and Skills:
What key content do I want my students to know and understand?
What skills do I want them to be able to demonstrate?
What are the key concepts embedded throughout this inquiry?
Key Inquiry Questions:
What essential questions will be explored?
Why are these important?
How will I know they have achieved the outcomes?
How will I use assessment for, as and of throughout the learning process?
What products of learning will be used to assess knowledge, understanding, skills and thinking?
What feedback will be given during the different phases of the inquiry?
How can I promote self-regulation through feedback?
Once educators have a good understanding of the curriculum requirements, cross-curriculum connections that can be made and have a strong understanding of the key concepts to be explored in the unit, educators can begin brainstorming and sorting ideas for learning experiences and assessments that will help them achieve the learning goals and answer the key inquiry question(s). This process supports educators as they plan for and implement effective teaching and learning(Australian Professional Standards for Teachers - standard 3), and includes brainstorming about: Content:
What are the big ideas and key themes?
What kind of experiences might help students understand this content, concepts and answer the essential questions?
What opportunities might there be for authentic action?
How will I get them to show their thinking, understanding, knowledge and skills?
What learning experiences will help my students FIND OUT and SORT OUT?
How can I integrate other Key Learning Areas to support students to understand the content and answer the key inquiry question? -rich opportunities for Literacy and Numeracy
How will I utilise student questions to shape the way our inquiry goes?
How will we reflect on learning as we go? - Assessment As Learning & Goal Setting
What learning experiences will I use to monitor student thinking and understanding?
How can I be deliberate about the types of questions I am asking?
How will we document our learning? What will we do with this as our learning progresses?
How will I provide effective feedback for students throughout the process?
Going Further is a crucial component of planning for and implementing effective teaching and learning(Australian Professional Standards for Teachers - standard 3). This phase is about providing structured and meaningful opportunities for students to dig a bit deeper with key concepts and explore wonderings further.
What opportunities are there for students to take learning further?
What opportunities are there for students to engage with and find solutions for authentic real-world problems?
How will these enhance student learning and understanding?
Below you will find a link to an example inquiry template that you can use or adapt to suit the needs of your own educational context. This planning template is useful for compliance and collaborative planning purposes and is an ongoing and evolving document as the inquiry unit progresses.