Child-Centered Inquiry with Guidance

I believe one of the best things I can do for the Magical Minds is teach them how to find their own answers.  The first half of the year is all about modeling, building trust, exposing them to resources and introducing them to tools.  These days, I am looking for opportunities for them to take control over their own learning.

Thus, when we began our investigation into light, I asked them what they wanted to know more about.  Using our Scientific Method Guide, the Magical Minds chose their own plan to find their answers.  A few chose to make an experiment.  Two girls chose to watch a movie and the other two sought their answers on the internet.


Researching Light Through Film

These methods of investigation had been modeled in class before, except for Twurdy, a search engine that sorts and codes search results according to readability. Thus, I wanted to take a moment to educate everyone about how to use this helpful tool.  I called everyone over.

As I tried to explain what I call “the anatomy of a search result,” the kids were squirming and eager to go back to their projects.  Great that they were excited to go back to their learning, but frustrating when I had something they would all benefit from.  Thus, the Pause for Learning was born.

I expressed my frustration with the Magical Minds, and they agreed – there should be a way that I (we?) could share cool, helpful, exciting learning moments and everyone could benefit.  Together we decided that when the triangle is rung, they will give their eyes, hands, voices and minds to the “Pause for Learning.” We practiced a few times, and then we returned to Twurdy.   I walked them through the important elements of their search results.  Together we know more.

Twurdy Explained


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