📑 Kath Murdoch’s 2017 Inquiry Journeys

Bookmarked My favourite inquiry journeys of 2017.... (Kath Murdoch)
Using an inquiry based approach to teaching and learning is multi-faceted. At its heart, inquiry is a stance – it’s about how we talk to kids and how we think about learning. It is also about how we plan and the contexts we both recognise and create in which powerful inquiry can thrive. These contexts can be highly personal (one child’s investigation into their passion) and they can also be shared contexts that bring learners together under a common question. These shared inquiries form a powerful ‘backbone’ of the primary classroom.
Kath Murdoch stops and reflects on twelve inquiry projects that she has helped with in 2017. They include such questions as:

  1. HOW CAN WE DESIGN FOR OUR WELLBEING?
  2. WHAT MAKES A HEALTHY HABITAT?
  3. HOW CAN WE TEACH OTHERS ABOUT THIS SPECIAL PLACE?
  4. WHY DO PEOPLE PLAY?
  5. CAN WE CREATE OUR OWN RESTAURANT?
  6. BIN CHICKENS: WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
  7. LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS…WOULD YOU BUY THAT? WHY?
  8. WHY ARE MUSEUMS IMPORTANT – AND CAN WE CURATE OUR OWN?
  9. WHAT’S MY STORY – WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
  10. WHAT’S REALLY ON YOUR PLATE?
  11. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ADAPT?
  12. WHY IS MUSIC IMPORTANT?

She pulls out some of the key aspects that went across all the different inquiries:

For the most part, the inquiries:

were authentic! Kids investigating something for a real purpose – with a genuine high-stakes outcome (often known from the outset)
were integrative. The journeys described allowed a range of learning areas to be meaningfully connected
involved experts from outside the school – this meant kids having to communicate with people in various fields
were shared – the learning gained from the inquiries went beyond the classroom and was shared with the wider community in some way
were emergent – these inquiries could not be planned in detail. The authentic nature of the journey meant that teachers and learners had to think on their feet and plan as the inquiry unfolded.
got kids out of the classroom visiting restaurants, going to the museum, the local nature reserve…many of these inquiries depended on experience beyond the classroom walls.
were often ‘design’ focussed.

This is not a list of questions and/or units to roll out, but rather a source of inspiration. Along with her post on ten practices of an inquiry teacher, they provide some guidance going into the new year.

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