How to Spark It

Tue, 10 Aug, 2021

Inquiry-Based Learning for Young Learners: All You Need to Know

Learning should be more than simply information delivery, especially when it comes to children. It is essential to activate a child's curiosity and getting them engaged in the process. That is where inquiry-based learning is flourishing these days! Here's all you need to know about this well-rounded learning strategy. 

What is Inquiry-Based Learning? 

Inquiry-based learning, as the definition goes, is a teaching method that combines your child's curiosity with the development of critical thinking skills. To put it simply, the child questions everything to trigger creative thinking. It promotes engagement, a spirit of inquiry, creative thinking, and experimentation. 

Let us understand what inquiry-based learning is from the perspective of:

    The kids - Since the need to question is the hallmark of our species, inquiry sets a definite purpose for your child's learning. Their questions, ideas, and observations get an open platform. Ideal learning happens when you allow children to play, experiment and learn at their own pace. 

    The parents - Inquiry-based learning will tap into your creativity and passions since you will be responsible for encouraging your child's nature to question. You will have to support them to explore the topics in-depth and nudge them in the appropriate direction for the correct answers when necessary. 

It requires experimentation to see which direction suits your kids the best and for that, you need to know some of the representations of inquiry-based learning. 

Types of Inquiry-Based Learning

Inquiry-based learning uses different approaches, cultivating skills with adequate guidance and group discussions. The different kinds of inquiry-based learning include:

    Confirmation Inquiry - In this level 1 inquiry, you will offer the questions to the child along with a procedure that leads to known results.

    Structured Inquiry - For the level 2 inquiry, you will provide your child with the initial question and outline of the procedure where the results are unknown. The kids will investigate their findings.

    Guided Inquiry - Within level 3, it is the kids who design and follow procedures. You will only offer them the question. 

    Open Inquiry -Finally, for level 4, the children will formulate research questions, design a procedure, and communicate their results. 

Regardless of the level, inquiry-based learning offers a whole range of advantages.  


Benefits of Inquiry-Based Learning 

The benefits of inquiry-based learning range far from simply allowing the students to take charge of their learning. These include:

    Initiates Brain Prepping for Learning - Beginning a learning session with a short activity helps children absorb information throughout the day. The activities designed for inquiry-based learning pique their curiosity using intellectual stimulation as a warmup for their brain.

    Promotes a Deeper Understanding of Content - Their quest for answers develops a deeper understanding of the topic. It is a given that they will build connections with what they have learned.

    A Sense of Rewarding - Working on their own will help the kids feel achievement, and such productivity eventually helps them gain confidence. A successful journey towards the answers and correct research motivates them to explore more. 

    Builds Initiative and Self-Direction - Once your child is used to researching to further their learning, they will not fear taking the initiative to learn more later in life. It also builds ownership since they figure out their own direction.   

    Fosters curiosity - Inquiry-based learning triggers curiosity since kids go through the longer routes to reach and understand the core concept. Once you nudge them towards the right direction, a stream of questions will follow that seek answers from real-life examples.

    Increases Engagement - Being a form of active learning, this approach pushes children to fully engage themselves to explore the chosen topics by asking questions. They will understand that the more they ask, the more they will learn.   


Inquiry-Based Learning Strategies 

This section explores the strategies that will also allow you and your smart kid to enjoy the full extent of the benefits. A strategic beginning is essential to ensure that you know which path to take for your children. Explore these tried and tested plans below:

    Ask them to come up with one question they want to find an answer to - Leave it to the child to choose what they want to know more. By developing their own problem statement, they will pose questions and seek answers with more enthusiasm.

    Help them come up with other questions to support the main question - Once the theme of the inquiry gets finalized, you will have to encourage your children to ask questions which lead to the actual results. These could be about topics around the principle question or ones that automatically form a path to its answer.

    Ask your child to investigate the questions - Herein, you will provide them with the resources to search for the answers. These could range from library books or online resources to textbooks and discussions. 


Inquiry-Based Learning Activities

You could either plan activities and games during the school year or even during summer breaks. Some of the activities that can effectively spark your kid's interest are:

    Visiting a local museum

    Building a bird feeder

    Attending summer camp

    Writing letters to friends

    Visiting a national park


    Taking part in an outdoor scavenger hunt

    Touring the library

    Constructing a backyard fort or treehouse

    Berry picking

    Observing the stars from the backyard


It is essential to understand that inquiry-based learning is majorly a child-centric, independent approach. Organize activities for your kids to participate in and help them acquire the skills they need now and in the world of tomorr