Inquiry research projects
Inquiry is a process in which students are given more opportunities to investigate topics of interest within the realm of an essential, overriding question. Students, teachers, and librarians conference frequently as the investigation progresses. It is flexible and driven by the standards and the curriculum. It is also highly motivating for students which results in superior products.
Blowing up technology
Three sixth grade teams and the librarians designed a unit that asks the essential question: what is the impact of innovation in technology on a civilization? Students in learning teams chose a modern piece of technology. They researched the history and origin of the technology, how it changed over time, and made predictions for its uses in the future.
Student teams created a proposal for their research strategies and allocated work within the group. They produced a timeline. Students also had a choice of how they presented their understanding. The photo above shows a sixth grade team explaining the parts of a bike and how it works.
Historical fiction short stories
Seventh grade students do research on a topic from American History and then use what they've learned to create authentic settings for their historical fiction short stories. Other information literacy components include using the terms and/or to narrow or expand a search on a database, using quotations in search boxes, and using inference in research especially when examining primary pictures.
Read These Short Story E-Books
Thinking like a scientist
Many eighth grade science teachers use inquiry to teach the scientific method. Students choose a topic of interest and develop a research question that they can investigate through the scientific method. They do a review of the literature with the help of the librarians and develop background knowledge. They design an experiment under the guidance of the teacher, gather data, and present to an audience.
History's impact on society
In this eighth grade inquiry project, the essential question is how do events in history impact today's society? It is a cross-curricular unit involving social studies, language arts, and math in collaboration with the school librarian. Students choose a current event of interest to them and explore its roots in history. They generate primary data through surveys or interviews on the topic, write a research paper, and choose the method by which they will share their knowledge with others. The project spans a good portion of the school year in measured intervals.