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Inquiry Processes

What are the inquiry processes?

Identify icon


Identify is the part of the process where students are hooked into a lesson either through a story, phenomenon, experiences or people they meet.  Students are then motivated to identify an area of curiosity by questioning, wondering, observing, empathizing, defining or synthesizing.  This in turn drives their natural desire to learn.


Explore icon
Exploration is the process where students engage their natural curiosity and channel their energy into learning more about an area of interest.  With near 1:1 iPads and our learning spaces: ThinkLab, Farm Lab and Multimedia Studio, students brainstorm questions to research that will satisfy the curiosity that was sparked.  Exploration can be in the form of reading, interviewing, observing, researching and/or conversing.


Model icon
Modeling is the process where students begin creating solutions on how to best investigate their question.  They have the opportunity to draft, ideate, prototype, and/or engineer based on the information gathered during the exploration phase.  This process is important because it is where students apply their knowledge to create something.  We teach students the skills to model based on the field of study.  Modeling as an engineer, anthropologist and social scientist look different based on the type of work being done.  Using our GATE processes of thinking like a scientist, a journalist or engineer, we teach students the tools to model based on the work being done.
Evaluate Icon
Evaluation is the process where students begin analyzing the work they have done.  Whether it is during the identify, explore or modeling process, students are constantly asked to evaluate.  In the exploration phase, students can be asked to evaluate their questions, wonders, observations etc to ensure they are coming up with an essential question that will drive their inquiry deeply.  In the exploration process, students evaluate their information and sources whether from reading, interviewing, observing etc to ensure the information gathered is up to date and correct.  In the modeling process, students evaluate by testing their prototypes, drafts or ideas.  The most important part of evaluating is making decisions to either keep moving forward, modifying or start over.  Inquiry is a fluid process where constant reflection after each process is critical to success of the work.
Explain Icon
Explain is the process where students share their learning.  Students have multiple ways of demonstrating their learning by creating posters, flyers, presentations, movies or public service announcements and sharing with the classroom or general public.  As we move forward with lesson designs in the future, students will have more opportunities to connect with the community to serve and create solutions.