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Tool: Student inquiry projects

Teachers have involved students in inquiry projects for years. They help students:

  • Explore a topic: use prior knowledge and build background knowledge
  • Pose researchable questions
  • Develop a plan to explore their questions
  • Make sense of information gathered: comprehend, analyze, synthesize, evaluate
  • Share their learning: write reports, make presentations, create web pages

Below are examples of topics that could encourage family involvement in many aspects of the inquiry process and help teachers get to know families:

Students inquire into local history or geography

  • Buildings
  • Places
  • People
  • Events

Household pets

  • Characteristics of types, breeds
  • Approaches to care

What are our families doing to protect the environment?

What native plants do we have in our own back yards?

Family traditions:

  • What do our families eat on major holidays and how do our choices reflect our histories?
  • How do families celebrate birthdays?  Where did these traditions come from?
  • What are our family interests and activities?
  • What events and people are sources of pride for the family?

How have information technologies (cell phones, email, Internet) influenced our families' lives?

Which of the multiple intelligences are strongest in my family? Linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, interpersonal, naturalist? How do they influence my family’s goals, activities and interests?

Knowing our families as: readers, writers, speakers and listeners, viewers, mathematicians, scientists, historians, citizens, politicians, artists, musicians, athletes

Students as archivists Students collect primary source materials from families or local communities and analyze them to understand the relationship among national, state, local and personal history.

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