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Inquiry learning

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​Inquiry-based learning begins with a question, problem or idea. It involves children in planning and carrying out investigations, proposing explanations and solutions, and communicating their understanding of concepts in a variety of ways. Throughout the inquiry process, children observe, raise questions, and critique their practices. It is an approach that encourages collaboration and can be used effectively in a trans-disciplinary way or in most subject areas.

If utilised effectively, possible characteristics may include: active, agentic, collaborative, creative, scaffolded.

Inquiry learning unpacked

Teachers may:

  • initiate the inquiry through a question, problem or idea
  • support children to theorise, hypothesise and wonder
  • provide opportunities for children to become more confident and autonomous problem-solvers and thinkers
  • organise for learning experiences extending beyond singular activities, that can be repeated or returned to, and that lend themselves to active engagement in purposeful learning.

Children may:

  • initiate the inquiry by posing factual and exploratory questions based on personal interests and experiences
  • work as researchers, inferring, hypothesising, predicting, investigating, experimenting and recording
  • use skills in decision-making, planning and problem solving
  • reflect, rethink, reframe their questions, problems or ideas
  • share new learning with others and plan for future learning.

Download the approaches of age-appropriate pedagogies in action: inquiry learning  (PDF, 184KB) (DOCX, 41KB) to further explore the approach.

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Related information

Professional learning materials
Access professional learning materials related to the approaches of age-appropriate pedagogies including posters and postcards.

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Last updated 29 April 2019