• To determine inquiry-based methods using the inquiry cycle.
  • To classify appropriate forms of inquiry in relation to topic.
  • To develop an understanding of the roles of students and teachers in an inquiry-based classroom.


A Review of Literature on Inquiry-Based Learning by Paul Kim (2009).

Standard C1 - Collaborative planning #5

  • 5. Collaborative planning and reflection is based on agreed expectations for student learning.

Standard C3 - Teaching and learning #2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15

  • 2. Teaching and learning engages students as inquirers and thinkers.
  • 3. Teaching and learning builds on what students how and can do.
  • 5. Teaching and learning supports students to become actively responsible for their own learning.
  • 6. Teaching and learning addresses human commonality, diversity and multiple perspectives.
  • 9. Teaching and learning uses a range and variety of strategies.
  • 10. Teaching and learning differentiates instruction to meet students' learning needs and styles.
  • 13. Teaching and learning engages students in reflecting on how, what and why they are learning.
  • 14. Teaching and learning fosters a stimulating learning environment based on understanding and respect.
  • 15. Teaching and learning encourages students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

Again and again, when President Nelson Mandela challenged his fellow citizens to 'Build a better South Africa for All!' he would evoke this tradition of ubuntu - of recognizing the common humanity that transcends all differences. Perhaps that is the single word that most eloquently captures the essence of connecting, for it embraces more than just what I am. It celebrates what we are.


MYP: From principles into practice:

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As outlined in the programme model, the curriculum framework recognizes and values students' efforts to construct meaning when exploring the world around them. To support this, the MYP requires teachers to provide learning experiences that draws on students' prior knowledge and provide the time and opportunity for reflection and consolidation. This constructivist approach respects students' ongoing development of ideas and their understanding of the wider world. It implies a pedagogy that includes student inquiry into significant content in real-world contexts. This pedagogy leads to the most substantial and enduring learning.

The construction of meaning and the development of conceptual understanding are supported in the MYP by the acquisition of knowledge and the development of skills and attitudes that have a context. This is the way in which students learn best--they should be invited to investigate significant issues by formulating their own questions, designing their own inquiries, assessing the various means available to support their inquiries, and proceeding with research, experimentation, observation and analysis that will help them find their own responses to the issues. The starting point is students' current understanding, and the goal is the active construction of meaning by building connections between that understanding and new information and experience, derived from the inquiry into new content.

It is further recognized that not all learning in the MYP will take place in an inquiry setting. (p.62)

Activity 5: Inquire into possibilities

Read the literature review by Paul Kim --

Additional information: What is inquiry?

Each group selects a method suggested from the document--once selected, that method is unavailable to the other groups.

Each group are given 25-30 minutes to create a song, skit, visuals or anything that will allow others to understand the method.

Each group will present their method to the whole group by naming their method from the list below:

  • Constructivist based learning
  • Resource-based learning
  • Problem-based learning
  • Project-based learning
  • Collaborative learning

As you're listening to the other groups' presentations, reflect on the following questions:

  • What is the role of the teacher using inquiry-based learning strategies?
  • What is asked of the student?
  • How is it possible to formally measure learning in this type of classroom environment?

Individual reflection: Visible Thinking Strategy -- Core Routine

Harvard Project Zero, Visible Thinking, Core Routine (Copyright 2010 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College http://pzweb.harvard.edu/Rights.htm)

Reflect: How do you think inquiry might affect learning in your school:
  • I used to think ......... Now I think .........

The above routine is a thinking routine for synthesizing and organizing ideas. (Making Thinking Visible, p.154)

Constructivist based learning

Read page 1 to 3 from the following document ConstructivismGeometry.pdf

Once you've read the article:


  • Are you a constructivist teacher?

  • What does the classroom of a constructivist teacher look like and sound like? Does your maths classroom look like and sound like one?

  • How often should we have lessons that focus on constructivist learning?

Resource-based learning

Problem-based learning

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Students in Eeva Reeder's Geometry Class Design Schools for 2050.

Click here to see an introductory video of students applying Math skills to a real-world problem (11-minutes).
Click here to see an example of how inquiry-based methodologies are being implemented in the classroom for 21st century learners.

Collaborative learning


One way students can learn best is by using a concrete, discovery-oriented approach to develop concepts. Once these concepts have been developed, a connectionist approach helps students consolidate their learning.

Source: Ontario Ministry of Education and Training, 2004.

Forms of inquiry

Inquiry can take many forms, yet the most successful form is when students' questions and inquiries are genuine and take them from existing knowledge to new levels of understanding. An explicit expectation of the MYP is that successful inquiry will lead to meaningful reflection and to responsible action initiated by the students as a result of the learning process. This action may extend the students' learning, or it may have a wider social impact. Both inquiry and action can look very different form age 11 to 16.

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When engaging with an MYP unit of work students can use the inquiry cycle (see figure 4) to:

  • make connections between previous learning and current learning
  • experiment and play with various possibilities
  • make predictions and take action to see what happens
  • collect data and report findings
  • clarify existing ideas and reappraise perceptions of events
  • deepen their understanding through the application of a concept
  • make and test theories
  • research and seek information
  • take and defend a position
  • solve problems in a variety of ways. (pg 62)

Sustained inquiry frames the written, taught and assessed curriculum in IB programmes. IB programmes feature structured inquiry both into established bodies of knowledge and into complex problems. In this approach, prior knowledge and experience establish the basis for new learning, and students' own curiosity provides the most effective provocation for learning that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant.

Session understanding/reflection: Individual or in pairs

  • What are some inquiry-based methods using the inquiry cycle?
  • What forms of inquiry could be appropriate in relations to the delivery of your current MYP mathematics units?
  • What are the interdependencies of student and teacher in an inquiry-based classroom?

Please read the position paper on holistic learning by John Hare

Reflection: How is the mathematics department at your school currently implementing the 'holistic approach'?

Perhaps the most ambitious form of synthesis occurs in interdisciplinary work. This phrase should not be invoked lightly [...] It is inappropriate to charaterize work as genuinely interdisciplinary unless it entails the proper combination of at least two disciplines. Moreover, at least in the ideal, the two disciplines should not merely be juxtaposed; they should be genuinely integrated. Such an integration should yield understanding that could not have been achieved solely within either of the parent disciplines. (5 Minds for the Future, p.53)

Activity: What does an international-minded classroom look like?

Activity: Is internationalism currently fostered and promoted by your school? If so, how?

Reflection: How do we build a curriculum around the principles of internationalism?

What does "internationalism" mean to you as a teacher and how is it embedded into the mission/vision statements of your school? How does it differ from being inter-culturally aware? And then of course, we need to consider historical roots of mathematics and present day approaches. The IB strives to be an international organization and to that end, will accept all approaches/notations used by students from different countries around the world.

Click here to see a video that could stimulate a way for your students to demonstrate that they are good communicators.

Would Ma & Pa Kettle by good communicators? Click here to find out.

MYP: From principles into practice:

Intercultural awareness

A principle central to the MYP is that students should develop international-mindedness. They should be encouraged to consider issues from multiple perspectives. IB World Schools are varied: some have many nationalities within the student population and the teaching staff; others represent a more homogeneous community. Whatever the school, opportunities will exist to develop students' attitudes, knowledge, concepts and skills as they learn about their own and others' social, national and ethnic cultures. In this way, intercultural awareness can build understanding and respect.

Developing intercultural awareness concerns the whole school community. This will involve examining the school's organizational structure, the climate within the school, the relationships developed with the community outside, the subject-specific content and the contexts within which teaching takes place. Schools constantly need to evaluate the improve upon policies and procedures in order to facilitate the involvement of students, teachers, administrators and parents in practical activities leading to intercultural awareness. Schools are expects to engage in critical self-reflection and to adapt school culture where necessary: staff must be encouraged to share the vision of intercultural awareness and to exemplify appropriate behaviour. (pg 10-11)

For additional information regarding international education please view Towards a Continuum of International Education.pdf