Titans of Inquiry
Tennessee teachers, led by Hamilton County School District and supported by National Geographic, are using the Inquiry Design Model (IDM) to help students develop an explorer’s mindset! By weaving together geographic thinking, inquiry, literacy, and civic action, these elementary teachers are showing us how you can do it all. Check out some of the inquiries Hamilton teachers have created!
This Kindergarten/1st grade inquiry expands students’ understandings of how groups represent themselves through what they wear. The compelling question—“What do things I wear say about me?”—engages students in an examination of material culture by considering the factors impacting their own choices of what they wear such as geography, culture, and religion. Students will examine the similarities and differences they share with their classmates, as well as diverse cultures in their communities and around the globe.
This 2nd and 3rd grade inquiry expands student understandings of how a state is shaped by exploring the ways in which geographic and cultural forces work together to define a region. The compelling question—“How did my state get its shape?”—engages students in an examination of the defining characteristics of Tennessee by noting the history around the creation of Tennessee’s borders and regions in addition to an examination of Tennessee’s rich cultural scenes.
This 4th and 5th grade inquiry expands students’ understandings of Indian removal in the early 1800s by centering Cherokee resistance to removal policies. The compelling question—“How did the Cherokee resist removal?”—engages students in an examination of the Cherokee, whose ancestral homelands include parts of present day Tennessee, and the efforts they took to resist removal through geography, culture, and legal action. Ultimately, students will engage in the Geo-Inquiry process in which they examine the notion of art as resistance by looking at how art can contribute to narratives around Native peoples.
This 3rd grade inquiry asks students to think about a challenging local public policy issue: eminent domain. The compelling question—“Was the Chickamauga Dam worth it?”—engages students in an examination of a historic eminent domain case study that happened right in their backyard. The Chickamauga Dam was a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) project — a result of FDR’s New Deal to improve the country’s infrastructure and to jump start the economy to pull the US out of the Great Depression. But, in order to build the dam, developers had to use eminent domain which displaced people in the town of Old Harrison. Students in this inquiry weigh the benefits and costs of public projects like the Chickamauga Dam and determine the impact of using eminent domain for the common good.
The Making Geographic Inquiry Possible in Tennessee’s Elementary Classrooms Project was made possible by funding from National Geographic.