Why Inquiry?

Inquiry learning is a student-centered approach, it allows the teacher to engage, motivate and challenge students in active learning, whereby they discover meaning of newly attained knowledge and increase their deep understanding of encountering problems, topics, or issues that are solved through a systematic method of collecting and analyzing information.”

Inquiry Based Research Process

I had been using both the inquiry approach and primary source analysis, independently of each other in my history classrooms for some time when I decided to try a more systematic approach of research by combining both methods. I tried this with my oldest group of high school students knowing that prior to this, independent primary sources analyzed by the small class typically left my students searching for more answers.

In this case, I encouraged each student in the class to have their own question for a single source I selected for analysis. I continued to guide students throughout the process of asking and answering their own questions with each developing a different string of primary sources (path) to draw their own conclusions by gaining entirely different understandings.

Primary Source Analysis

Primary Sources include:
  • journals
  • letters
  • novels
  • artwork
  • photographs
  • news articles
  • court case records
  • music
  • biographies
  • artifacts
Related Resources

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