Looking for a Roadmap
inquirED was looking for roadmap for our Elementary Social Studies curriculum. We wanted something that showed us the destination, but allowed us to select the path. Whatever we chose, it had to align with our definition of inquiry-based learning.
  • Inquiries must start with a complex, engaging question that drives student interest and leads to a rigorous investigation.
  • Inquiries must inspire students to take action that has an effect on the world – whether to persuade, change behavior, inform, or inspire.
  • Inquiries must provide an opportunity to elevate students’ work through a public presentation.
The C3 Framework was a perfect fit for the kind of rigorous, active inquiries we sought to develop. The flexibility of the Framework allowed us to embed the curriculum in an online curriculum builder that allows teachers to construct customized units with aligned assessment rubrics built within the C3 Framework.
Using the Framework
In a 5th grade Social Studies Unit on the Civil War, our curriculum might follow this progression:
  1. The teacher presents an Inquiry Question to begin a unit: How can we honor our local Civil War history?
  2. The class investigates Essential Questions over the course of 7-10 weeks. These questions explore the concepts, conflicts, and circumstances that address the Inquiry Question.
  3. Students choose a way to represent their knowledge through a product – a brochure, documentary, town hall meeting, etc.- and use inquirED resources to help them construct and refine this product.
  4. Students present their product and investigation to the public through a presentation event.
In this progression, the C3 Framework helped us most when we were creating our Essential Questions, ensuring that students were pursuing rigorous investigations, practicing the skills of inquiry, and developing a deep understanding of the content. Each Essential Question is linked to a sequence of tailored lesson plans that target C3 skills and key concepts. Teachers also have the ability to modify lesson scope and order as they progress through the sequence, allowing them to fully customize the experience for their particular classroom.
Supporting Teachers
In Fall of 2017, inquirED travelled the country and talked with hundreds of teachers that were interested in inquiry-based learning, many of whom were familiar with the C3 Framework. But those same teachers also told us that they lacked the time and training to implement inquiry-based practices. So we used the C3 Framework to guide our curriculum design and to inform the creation of professional development modules. These modules provide educators with the guidance they need to implement a range of instructional practices that support inquiry in the classroom.
As inquirED continues to expand our curricular offerings and professional development supports, we’ll continue to rely on the C3 Framework to guide our work.

About Shanti Elangovan

CEO & Founder, inquirED After obtaining an M.Ed from Columbia University, Shanti Elangovan served as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and curriculum director, before directing programs at the National Center for Teacher Residencies. In 2017 Shanti founded inquirED to scale the use and impact of inquiry-based learning, a powerful teaching pedagogy that prepares students for the 21st century.