Inquiry Based Learning


Read more about planning with an Inquiry Based Model at: download Washing Machine Repair.


A great article about Setting up Learning Centres for Independent Inquiry from ETFO’s Primarily Play:


 Last week, my teaching partner planted sunflower seeds with each student in our Full Day Kindergarten class.  We want them to grow so we can send them home as large flowers for Mother’s Day next month.  After being away from school for four days, the plants began to sprout over the weekend.  

During our free play time this morning, a student asked me “Why did our plants grow?”.  I thought this would be a great inquiry based question to talk to the students about.  I got our chart paper and wrote the question down.  A small group of children came over to see what we were doing.  I asked the students why they thought our plants were beginning to grow.  We had done a large group discussion last week before we planted the flowers, and I wanted to see if they remembered what we had discussed.  They gave some great answers, which I wrote on the chart paper below the question.  We reviewed the question and answers during the next large group discussion time.

Tomorrow, I will extend their interest by asking what they think would happen if we stopped watering the plants, took away the light, etc…..


Inquiry Based Learning is a very important element to young children’s success in their early education.  Here is an article on Independent Inquiry that may help you in your classroom:

The children were engaged in the inquiry process while observing the properties of water. As they worked at learning centres the teacher invited interested children to come and discuss what they know about water and its colour. The children made comments which reflected their emerging understanding of the properties of water. These comments then acted as the basis for which to lead the investigation.


The children were then prompted to wonder whether the water is the same colour as the white carnation flower. Next the children considered what would happen if colour was added to the water.


The children made all kinds of hypotheses including “the flowers will die”, “the water will change”, “the water will change the colours of the flowers”. The next day the children made the following observations about the water and the flowers. (See comments on documentation panel)


The children all had theories about how the flowers became coloured. Thinking about children’s observations as theories takes the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ out of the investigation and reminds us that all children have background knowledge that can be built on in further investigations. The teacher plans on gauging the children’s interest to see if the investigation will be continued. The children involved in this investigation demonstrated a variety of expectations from Science and Technology and Language as well as building on children’s “sense of wonder and natural curiousity”. The Kindergarten Program, pg. 11.