After our successful and very exciting student vote, my class began their first steps towards a guided inquiry project for the Grades 4 and 5 Social Studies unit on Government and Citizenship (and Canadian Provinces for the Grade 4s).
We had generated a lot of background knowledge courtesy of the Student Vote - where the Liberals also won hands down after my students had read the party platforms on https://pollenize.org/ - I asked both grades to generate some questions they had about Canada, its provinces, and how government and citizenship works. I was overwhelmed by the number of questions that they came up with and put on our Wonder Wall:
The next day, I taught the students about the 3 different types of QUESTIONS we can sort our our ideas into, and this will help us with the next step in the inquiry process when we Gather and Organize information:
GOOGLE QUESTIONS - these are questions that can be answered quickly by typing key words into Google, ex: How many provinces and territories are there in Canada? How deep is Lake Ontario? These can also be yes or no questions, or have very short answers.
SEARCH AND FIND QUESTIONS - these questions require a bit of research, and we have to find a couple of sources to answer these questions and double check our facts. Search and Find Questions all have a correct set of answers that we can find through safe searches on the internet or in books in the library. Ex: How does the House of Commons work in Canada? How do the Federal and Provincial governments work together to help Canadians?
WICKED WONDERS - these questions deal with how people feel, different opinions, and bias. These questions may not have just one correct answer - you have to look at different points of view and groups of people. These are our INQUIRY QUESTIONS. Ex: How do Canadians feel about the polar ice caps melting? How do Canadians feel about the government using wind energy as a power source?
We made a chart in our Brainstorm books and we looked at a lot of examples. I also hung an anchor chart in the classroom as a reference. Then I sorted the student questions into mixed up piles, and had groups take a crack at sorting their questions into the above three categories.
As the year goes on I will continue to work on the quality of the questions being asked, but right now I am focusing on building confidence and a growth mindset with the inquiry process as I guide students through the steps.
Next week we will look at how to Gather and Organize the data we need to answer some of our questions, safe searches, and how Interpreting and Analyzing go hand in hand with Gathering and Organizing information in the classroom. Woo hoo! We had a lot of fun this week.