Independent Together: Supporting the Multilevel Community

Learning through Integrated Inquiry

Inquiry means more than research. It encompasses the habits of mind that promote learning and the processes that can be woven through all classroom learning experiences. It enables students to broaden and deepen their understanding of the world. Watch Video Clip (1.4 MB)


  • grows out of students' natural inclination to question the world
  • is fuelled by student curiosity and shaped by student planning
  • is often reshaped as the process forges ahead with new understandings and questions
  • is a shared responsibility

Roles in the Inquiry Process

While inquiry is often student led, it is also teacher facilitated. Teachers ensure that

  • curriculum outcomes are met
  • the learning needs of individual students are identified and addressed
  • adequate resources are available
  • students' learning processes and products meet criteria for quality work

The following table illustrates the roles of the teacher and learners in guided inquiry, and the dynamic process that forges its own course as students' understanding and interests develop and as new resources emerge or challenges are encountered. Listen to Audio Clip (49 KB)

Guided Inquiry
The Teacher as Reflective Practitioner and Keen Observer Inquiry Process The Student as Reflective and Active Learner
Formative Assessment
  • Target learning outcomes.
  • Focus observation.
  • Develop criteria.
  • Confer with students.
  • Plan and revise instruction.
  • Reflect.
  • Celebrate learning.


  • Choose a theme or topic.
  • Identify and record prior knowledge.
  • Ask initial questions.
  • Explore and select primary and secondary sources.
  • Plan for inquiry.


  • Gather, process, and record information.
  • Focus the inquiry.


  • Plan to express learning.
  • Create performance(s) / demonstration(s) / product(s).
  • Celebrate and reflect.
Formative Assessment
  • Set learning goals.
  • Focus inquiry.
  • Develop criteria.
  • Participate in conferences.
  • Revise inquiry plan.
  • Reflect.
  • Celebrate learning.