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Enabling Students to Champion Their Learning

The benefit of inquiry-based curriculum

Published 09-29-20

Submitted by Discovery Education

By Emy Aultman, 2nd grade teacher from Stringfellow Elementary School in Colquitt County, GA and Ignite My Future in School Learning Leader

More teachers are turning to inquiry-based instruction to ensure students gain and retain skills for success in college and career.

In the second post of our new series, we’re looking at how to use resources from Ignite My Future in School to support inquiry-based practices in the classroom and encourage students to lead their own learning.

What is inquiry-based instruction?

Defined by Edutopia, inquiry-based instruction is a student-centered approach where the instructor guides students through questions posed, methods designed and data interpreted by the students. Through inquiry, students actively discover information to support their investigations.

With many students learning remotely due to COVID-19, inquiry-based instruction is a valuable tool for teaching in a way that’s self-paced and engaging. Students can complete activities individually, or in groups, using inquiry-based strategies to evaluate information and solve problems.

Resources from Ignite My Future

  • Curriculum: Review these standards-aligned resources to introduce middle school-age students to computational thinking, and encourage them to take the lead in their learning. Activities have students work through real-world problems in math, science, language arts and more.
  • Career Vignettes: Have students consider the benefits of computational and inquiry-based thinking through a variety of career vignettes. Students are able to see computational thinking at work, and meet the diverse and dynamic people who have launched careers in computer science and design thinking.
  • Family Activities: These family-focused activities encourage students to collaborate with family members while learning the key components of computational thinking.  Family-focused activities also help students gain a deeper understanding of problem-solving skills. 
  • K-12 Computational Thinking Resources: There are many online resources available to help students grow as self-led, computational thinkers. This list curated by Ignite My Future includes several digital tools for building computational thinking skills.

Other Resources

  • Top Apps, Games and Websites for Scientific Inquiry (Common Sense Education): This list of tools curated by Common Sense offers students the techniques to design their own "scientific method" through inquiry-based learning: making observations, asking questions, gathering data, uncovering answers, revising their thinking, and asking new questions.
  • Resources and Downloads to Facilitate Inquiry-based Learning (Edutopia): A list from Edutopia provides information, strategies, protocols and tools to promote curiosity and engage students in asking questions, thinking critically, and solving problems.
  • K-12 Inquiry-based Strategies/Activities (The Edvocate): The Edvocate shares 10 teaching strategies and activities for facilitating inquiry-based learning.

Create curious students.

Inquiry-based practices harness students’ innate curiosity to drive learning forward and help them gain skills for success.

The benefits of creating self-driven learners are clear, and the pandemic’s disruption of “education as usual” has left us with many opportunities to rethink how we teach and engage students. Use this to your advantage by incorporating inquiry-based strategies and activities in your virtual, hybrid or in-person classroom this school year.

To learn more about Ignite My Future in School, please visit

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Discovery Education

Discovery Education

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education's services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the U.K., and more than 50 countries. 

Accelerate student achievement in your district by capturing the minds and imaginations of students with the fascination of Discovery, tapping into students' natural curiosity and desire to learn.

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