Move to Project-based Learning with Inquiry
Inquiry is a 21st century skills curriculum for grades K-8 that takes a project-based approach to integrating technology into core instruction. It includes six ready-to-go projects per grade level to help districts move towards project-based learning without the need for additional resources or preparation time.
Features and Benefits:
- Six ready-to-go projects per grade level covering concepts in ELA, math, science, and social studies
- Meets 100% of the NETS-S for grades K-8
- Built-in pre-tests that assess technology skills and auto-assign EasyTech lessons
- Reflections for students to evaluate their work and comment on their experience
- Comprehensive guides, lesson plans, and implementation strategies for teachers
- Engages students in a computer lab setting, BYOD or 1:1 program
- Prepares students for PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments
Prior to beginning each project, students may be assigned a pre-test to determine if they have the technology skills required for successfully completing the project. If additional technology skills are needed, the student will automatically be assigned a corresponding lesson from the EasyTech library.
Inquiry supports teachers with ready-to-go, core-aligned projects. Each project introduces an essential question that students must answer with research, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. These projects bring core curriculum and instruction together to develop 21st century skills.
After completing a project, the student is taken to the reflection section where they are encouraged to evaluate their work based on provided goals, core curriculum concepts learned and the application of digital literacy skills. Reflections also give the student the opportunity to comment on their experience and give an evaluation of the work of others.
Project-based Learning is Effective
The Buck Institute for Education released a compilation of over forty years of research showing that project-based learning is effective in building deep content understanding, raising academic achievement, and encouraging student motivation to learn.
Inquiry is a Turnkey PBL Solution
While the benefits of using project-based learning are well known, many educators are not sure how to get started. Inquiry provides a ready-to-go curriculum solution for grades K-8 that makes it simple for districts to move towards a project-based approach. It includes comprehensive guides and implementation strategies to help districts move toward project-based learning without requiring additional teacher preparation time.
Essential Questions and Reflections
Inquiry’s projects introduce an essential question that students work through by conducting research, collaborating with their classmates, and creating digital media. This approach helps students develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills to prepare them for college and career. As another key component of project-based learning, Inquiry also features Reflections. After finishing a project, students complete a short reflection assignment to comment on their learning experience and evaluate their work.
View the specific components of project-based learning that Inquiry includes, here »
Inquiry’s projects teach concepts from these instructional themes throughout grades K-8:
- Math: Geometry and Financial Literacy
- ELA: Writing Process (including Technical Writing in upper grades) and Fiction vs. Non-Fiction
- Science: Geology and Resource Conservation
- Social Studies: Geography and Digital Citizenship/Online Safety
These themes were developed so that the concepts learned by students carry on and connect from grade to grade. Student learning objectives, skills and rigor around these themes increase in each grade.
Note: One Online Safety/Digital Citizenship themed-project is available in grades 4 and above.
Student Use of Technology
Some examples of technology used in the Inquiry projects by students:
- Internet Research
- Office Suite Software
- Image Processing and Scanning
- Word Clouds
- Discussion Boards
- Technical Writing
Technology Skills Pre-test
Students begin each project with a pre-test that assesses their technology skills and auto-assigns EasyTech lessons based on the results. Completion of the lessons ensures that students have the digital literacy skills needed for success on the project. This also provides teachers with immediate and accurate data on each student’s digital literacy skills.
EasyTech Supplemental Library
To support student development of digital literacy skills Inquiry also includes the award-winning EasyTech Supplemental Library, EasyTech Keyboarding, and EasyTech Online Safety curriculum solutions. The library contains all of the interactive lessons, games, and quizzes from EasyTech. Teachers can use the EasyTech library for direct instruction of digital literacy skills, supplementary instruction, remediation and differentiation of instruction, and Spanish language lessons for ELL students.
Inquiry helps students learn core curriculum content and develop crucial digital literacy skills while working independently or in a group setting.
Core Subject Area Alignment
With ready-to-go projects in ELA, math, science, and social studies, Inquiry supports both the Common Core State Standards and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.
Technology Skills Alignment
The technology curriculum included in Inquiry (pre-tests, projects, reflections, and EasyTech supplemental library) covers 100% of both the ISTE National Education Technology Standards for Students and the Technology Applications Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.
Primary Grade Samples
By utilizing the pre-test to analyze student skill level followed by the auto-assigned lessons to meet identified gaps, you can ensure your students are prepared to conduct research, use a scanner, share their work digitally and meet other required technology skills standards for grades K-2.
Student projects are designed to meet the grade level applicable standards for digital literacy and technology applications while also addressing core curriculum subject area standards. Each grade level is comprised of integrated technology projects that address ELA, math, science and social studies curriculum through an essential question that students use as the focus for guiding their learning.
The reflection section allows students to evaluate their work and reflect upon their learning experience in a student friendly layout.
Middle School Grade Samples
The grades 6-8 pre-tests take the guess work on knowing which students have more advanced technology skills by directly assessing the exact skills needed for the more advanced middle school projects. Those students needing technology instruction for success on the project are auto-assigned just the content they need to support them so they can do their very best work.
Student ELA, math, science and social studies projects for the middle grades increase in core area rigor and the use of more advanced technology applications and online resources. Student development and understanding of more complex technology tasks and 21st century skills continue throughout these grades. Because of the scaffolding content themes built into all of the Inquiry projects, middle school students have a solid understanding and direct application of these skills by the completion of their projects.
Reflections allow students to evaluate their work and their understanding of the concepts learned during the project. The interactive reflection section is presented in a student friendly manner.
Prepare Your Students for PARCC and Smarter Balanced
Today's students need critical thinking, problem solving, and other 21st century skills to master the new standards and demonstrate their knowledge on the new assessments. PARCC and Smarter Balanced will require students to have core technology skills such as keyboarding and word processing skills as well as demonstrate creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.
Student Expectations for the New Assessments
Beginning in 4th grade, students will be expected to respond to questions using a word processor. Writing standards require students be able to type two pages of text in one sitting. The number of pages students are to type in one sitting increases throughout the grade levels. Not only are students unfamiliar with typing large quantities of text, they are not familiar with using the various writing processes on the computer to organize their thoughts without pencil and paper.
Sample PARCC Question
You have read three texts describing Amelia Earhart. All three include the claim that Earhart was a brave, courageous person. The three texts are:
- "Biography of Amelia Earhart"
- "Earhart's Final Resting Place Believed Found"
- "Amelia Earhart's Life and Disappearance"
Consider the argument each author uses to demonstrate Earhart's bravery. Write an essay that analyzes the strength of the arguments about Earhart's bravery in at least two of the texts. Remember to use textual evidence to support your ideas.
Inquiry Prepares Students for Success
Inquiry’s projects addresses the skills students need to prepare them to correctly answer specific questions on a computer-based assessment and prepare them to use technology as an educational tool.
Click here for more information on PARCC.
Click here for more information on Smarter Balanced.