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Students applying the inquiry process.

By Kate Dare

At St James’ children are applying the inquiry process to their learning. This term, for their science learning, children in the middle school have been learning about the physical world through the Big Question; “What processes can be used to change energy into electricity?” The children have followed the Kath Murdoch Inquiry Model and teachers and children are familiar with this process; learning is recorded on the inquiry wall under these headings. However, this term to improve children’s understanding of the different stages, learning has been made explicit at each stage on the inquiry wall; explanations have been added to accompany children’s work so they can see exactly what they did, and why, at each stage. When children share their inquiry learning with parents this week, this will help scaffold their explanations of their learning.

E-learning has also been integrated into childen's learning to support the inquiry learning process. For example, in Room 4 wonderings were gathered on a wall wisher and shared on the class blog (http://superthirty4s.blogspot.com/2011/06/blog-post.html). The wall wisher was not static, new wonderings were added at a later date if they arose. Room 1 recorded their questions, observations and findings from a bio-gas experiment, using the class blog and fotobabble (http://room1stjames.blogspot.com/2011/06/our-bio-gas-experiment.html, http://room1stjames.blogspot.com/2011/06/elizabeth-is-reporting-about-learning.html). Fotobabble was used, in particular, to extend high achievers during reading rotations. This enabled them to share their learning beyond the class. Using the class blog allowed Room 1 to share their learning beyond the classroom walls.