Student inquiry is an active learning process that allows students to investigate central, essential questions linked to curriculum standards and specific teaching objectives. Essential questions maybe created by the teacher or by the students, but when this guided inquiry process is enhanced by the use of everyday objects (seashells, feathers, flowers, rocks, etc) teachers can cover required concepts while simultaneously houring student curiosity and encouraging students to become more observant, inquisitive, and reflective. The authors provide lively and practical guidance to help teachers engage students in object-based inquiry along with sample lessons in language arts, science, social studies, and math. These user-friendly sample lessons are structured to increase both teacher and student success with the process, and tips are provided on how to adjust lessons along a continuum from traditionally structured to more student-initiated. This volume is intended as a stimulus for change in both teaching and thinking, and offers object-based inquiry as a tool for teachers to add to their existing repertoire of teaching strategies.
Amy Alvarado has thirteen years experience in the classroom and extensive expertise in helping educators improve instructional techniques and curriculum design in all content areas. She has an undergraduate degree in English and secondary education from the College of William and Mary and a masters degree in Educational Psychology with a specialization in gifted education from the University of Virginia. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Virginia. Patricia Herr has eleven years of experience in the classroom and has participated in curriculum design in all academic areas during that time. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Social Science from Frostburg State University and a Masters Degree in Education from Marymount University. She also holds a certificate in Technology Education from George Mason University. She is currently teaching fifth grade at Ball's Bluff Elementary School and has done so for the past seven years. Mrs. Her has been identified twice as one of the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Educators in Loudoun County, Virginia. Additionally, she has mentored new teachers and supervised student teachers. Mrs. Herr has been actively involved in the Minority Achievement Committee county wide, serving as the chair for two years, and the co-chair for two years. She helped develop a mentoring program that was implemented county wide. She has also been the recipient of a number of grants to further the practice of object based inquiry teaching which has benefited students school wide with the addition of a museum exhibit area in the school. She has worked as a mentor teacher for the Naturalist Center's Iwonder program, helping other teacher learn to incorporate object-based inquiry strategies into their classrooms and to develop object-based inquiry lessons.