Inquiry is on the move in North Carolina. Teachers around the state are learning about the Inquiry Design Model and beginning to use the inquiry model in their classrooms. Inquiry work is ongoing in several schools and school districts around the state as well as in teacher education programs in the state. Learn more about these efforts below.
Students at NC State have been learning about the Inquiry Design Model and developing inquiries in teaching methods courses for a few years now. We began our work just after the publication of the C3 Framework in 2014 and have continued to this day.
Below are two collections of inquiries. First, we share our latest collection of inquiries. These were designed in 2020 by students in a graduate class with Dr. Meghan Manfra.
This inquiry from Jim Bitzes is structured with three supporting questions which serve to break down the compelling question for the unit. Each supporting question unpacks a key aspect of the compelling question, is supported with credible and compelling primary and secondary sources, and is a question which students can both answer and provide reflection. The performance tasks are varied but build upon each other and ultimately support the summative performance task, as well as the final step – taking informed action. The questions are designed to help foster inquiry into Mr. Korematsu’s life, his quest for justice, and the aspects of that quest which remain important today.
Holly Hogarth wrote this inquiry for middle schoolers examining representations of people of color in ancient Rome. The inquiry is intended to be performed by small groups in order to accommodate the review of more primary sources and to include more diverse opinions. While there is other evidence to study regarding the interdependencies of Romans with people of color in the Middle East and Asia, the scope of this inquiry is the primary source work that depicts interactions with people of the North and East African continent. It is important to distinguish between our modern understanding of Ethiopians as peoples of the specific country of Africa known as Ethiopia, and the ancient descriptions of Ethiopians, or “Aethiopians”, as any dark-skinned people native to the African continent.
This inquiry from Beth Shaver was designed to be an introduction to a unit on African American culture from emancipation through the modern era. The lesson will be taught as we chronologically transition from the reconstruction era and into the twentieth century. The lesson should take a total of four class periods and will ground the students in the idea that art cannot only persist in the face of oppression, but it can thrive. Ultimately, the goal is for student to take away the concept that sometimes even just the creation of art is a form of resistance, and ultimately protest.
With this inquiry from Rebecca McKnight, students have an opportunity to explore in-depth how one individual’s voice and actions can impact the world in which they live by looking at the life and work of journalist/civil rights activist Ida B. Wells. Students will review primary and secondary sources that will detail her life, work and legacy in order to answer the compelling question: Can one person’s voice change the world. This inquiry will also provide students with the opportunity to think about the value of learning about “hard history” and how those events/concepts contribute to our understanding of different times in history.
Sarah Ford designed this inquiry to lead high-school students through an investigation of the roles and rights of women during the colonial and Revolutionary eras of United States history. By investigating the compelling question, “Could women be patriots during the Revolutionary War?” students consider the ways in which patriotism is defined, as well as what it takes to be considered a patriot. Students examine the ways in which the existing roles of women at the time, the acts of resistance that some women engaged in against these constraints, and the changes that did begin to take place in the later years of the time period impacted the ability of women to be patriots.
A second set of six inquiries were developed by students in a 2015 section of a course called Contemporary Approaches to Teaching Social Studies. These inquiries, originally written by students in the course and were later modified and edited by Vandna Gill.
This inquiry, written by Vandna Gill, asks the compelling question Is our system of criminal justice just? and provides an opportunity to learn more about protections for the accused guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution and the limitations of the criminal justice system in practice. A unique component of the inquiry is an opportunity to take informed action to help others learn how miscarriages of justice can be overcome.
This inquiry, written by Adam Lipay, is centered around the compelling question How do presidential candidates use television? and prompts students to acknowledge the omnipresence of television in their lives, connecting media with politics, which affects multiple different disciplines (i.e., history, sociology, cultural studies, technology, civics).
This inquiry, written by Michael Bazemore, is an attempt to explore whether the Salem witch trials were a rational response to events in and around Salem Village in 1692. We are accustomed to calling politically motivated investigations “witch hunts,” but what does it mean if the original “witch hunt” was not necessarily the product of mass hysteria, but rather a rational response to the world as New Englanders understood it?
In this inquiry from Colin West, students examine one particular group, the Irish, during a period when they experienced mass migration. Immigration is an important topic for students of U.S. history, both historically and currently. To understand why people, both the 19th century Irish as well as countless other immigrants, choose the U.S. as their destination for immigration, it is important to analyze the conditions in their home country and to understand the concept of the American Dream.
The purpose of this inquiry from Stefanie Boyne is to draw connections in the hopes of discovering possible factors, not proven causes, for genocide. This inquiry focuses on five different instances of genocide and, more generally, on the concepts of genocide and war crimes, war and ethnic conflict, demographics, GDP, political centralization, and changes of power.
This inquiry focuses on the correlation between philosophy and education. Participants will examine various perspectives regarding philosophy and its relevancy to the education system along with the risks associated with teaching it in the classroom. This inquiry is designed solely for teacher professional development programs but is also suitable for high school students. Originally, this inquiry was formatted for twelfth graders, however, it was thought to be better fitting for teachers themselves due to its content regarding the education system and philosophy. For better clarification, teachers completing this inquiry will be considered participants rather than students. Normally, the person leading the inquiry is obviously known as the teacher, but this title will be replaced with instructor for clarification.
With literacy as our north star, Charlotte Mecklenburg schools is plotting a course towards inquiry. Our district is on a journey to develop a leveled understanding of disciplinary literacy, and for social studies, the IDM has been a great tool for educators across our district to help guide the curiosity of our students and develop a deeper understanding with historical thinking skills.
With a district wide focus on disciplinary literacy across K-12 as a starting point, CMS has focused efforts on careful selection of text, fostering student questioning, close reading strategies, and finally, academic conversations. Based on that framework, applying the four dimensions of the inquiry arc was a natural fit when paired with the IDM.
What makes a person from history worth remembering? – 2nd grade inquiry by Carrie Alexander – Download Here
How can I be a responsible citizen? – 2nd grade adapted inquiry unit by Carrie Alexander, Stacey Hoy, and Shawnta Person – Download Here
What event in Charlotte’s history had the most influence on its growth? – 3rd grade inquiry by Stephanie Weiler – Download Here
Was the Industrial Revolution beneficial for our global society? – 7th grade inquiry by Kristen Wawer – Download Here
Was the Age of Reason Unreasonable? – 9th grade inquiry by Julie Hellerstein – Download Here
Was the Cold War avoidable? – 9th grade inquiry by Julie Hellerstein – Download Here
What factors should drive student assignment in public schools? – 1oth grade inquiry by Leah Hoyle – Download Here
Take a look at our open access website linked below to see more draft inquiries and resources for sustaining investigations across K-12. Be on the lookout for more to come!
In Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, North Carolina, teachers are making some sweet applications of the Inquiry Design Model – literally! Students in Rebecca Craps 5th grade classroom just completed an inquiry on the economics of chocolate and yes it came with the real thing. You can read more about this inquiry activity on our C3 Teachers blog and on the Winston-Salem Forsyth Schools website HERE. This inquiry and others in North Carolina schools are the product of professional development activities lead by Dr. Emma Thacker at Wake Forest University. In collaboration with Andy Kraft, the Winston-Salem Forsyth Schools program manager for social studies, Dr. Thacker and her colleague at Wake Forest, Dr. Adam Friedman, are training teachers to use the Inquiry Design Model (IDM). Their efforts are paying off as teachers in Winston-Salem and beyond are picking up IDM and adapting it for their classroom.
The development of elementary and high school inquires is an ongoing process in Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools. Learn more about the work in Winston-Salem/Forsyth schools by checking out the work teachers have complete on topics as diverse as democracy, natural resources, crusades, and more.
A collection of twelve inquiries at elementary grades is available from the Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools social studies deo online at http://www.wsfcs.k12.nc.us/Page/98630
You’ll find another 12 inquiries at the high school level, all arranged as units of study online at http://www.wsfcs.k12.nc.us/Page/97714
“I find teaching exciting because I see light bulbs coming on constantly. I like making them step out of their comfort zone. This type of classwork teaches them how to think.” ~ Mrs. Rebecca Craps