Why is it important to spend time developing the question during an Inquiry Based Lesson?

Developing the question is an integral part of an inquiry based lesson. In each day of a lesson, students are introduced to a scenario that will require math to solve. Students are never told what operation to use, what steps to take, or even what questions to answer.

Asking open-ended questions leads to more rigorous discussion among students. All inquiry based lessons for grades 1 through 5 are scaffolded with open-ended questions that help guide students to the question(s) to answer. Middle school lessons do not include these scaffolded questions, creating more independence and promoting higher quality discussion among older students.

After the inquiry video, each presentation will include a slide that prompts students to determine the questions to answer. For elementary grades, it will be followed by 1-2 question slides specific to the inquiry. Questions will relate to the scenario and lead students to determine math they need to do.

By drawing students' attention to certain aspects of the scenario, but not directly providing the question to answer, students can investigate the concepts on their own. It is important to encourage groups to talk during this time. After some group discussion, students should write their questions on their student inquiry sheets.

A list of suggested questions to answer are provided in each inquiry. The list includes questions at multiple levels, including a bonus questions for students to work on when they are finished finding a solution for the inquiry.

Developing the question(s) to answer is a key part of the inquiry lessons that should not be rushed through or skipped. Spending time on this portion of each lesson will empower students and encourage them to collaborate, think critically, and reason. You will equip your students with the tools to build problem-solving skills and conceptual understanding.

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