Frequently Asked Questions about Inquiring Learners
What is the Inquiring Learners project?
We are teacher-researchers who have developed resources for teaching inquiry-based learning. We currently have two sets of resources, Inquiring Online and Inquiring Science. Both projects are aimed at KS2 (ages 7-11 in England).
Inquiring Online is linked to the PSHE and Computing curriculum and teaches children media and information literacy (also known as digital literacy).
Inquiring Science teaches children to think like scientists, and is linked to the Working Scientifically aspect of the KS2 science curriculum.
These resources have been developed and trialled already with the help of teachers and children, but now we want to find out more information about the impact that they have on children’s media and information literacy or ability to think like scientists. You can sign up to use either set of resources.
What do I have to do to take part in the research trial?
There are 10 lessons for each set of resources, which take about an hour. How you teach these is up to you – you can do one lesson per week or more than one.
The children in your class will need to take one of our online assessments before you start teaching the lessons, and one after.
We will ask you to do a questionnaire before you start teaching and after you’ve finished. This is so we can find out what you thought about the resources: what you liked, what you’d like to see more of, and what impact you thought it had on the children.
When does the trial start and finish?
We are holding a trial in the summer term 2022, so it will start at the end of April. The length of the trial will depend on how many lessons you teach per week, but a possible timeline is:
End of April: Teachers complete the first questionnaire and watch the training videos. Children take the first assessment
Start of May to end of June: Teachers teach the 10 sessions
Start of July: Teachers complete the second questionnaire. Children take the second assessment
How do I sign up?
Can you tell me more about the resources?
Each lesson starts with a stimulus story, set in the fictional Galileo Class at Newton Primary School. The children in Galileo Class are exploring the world around them, and have lots of questions. For example: Bertie wants to know why he can’t learn to ride a bike by watching cyclists on TV. Ama wants to know how she can tell if her sister is telling her the truth, or making up tall stories; and Molly-with-a-y and Molli-with-an-i want to know how they can prove that Madagascar exists. The whole class want to know if the tree-climbing octopus is real!
By engaging with these characters, your class will get to think about these questions too, which cover important issues like how we can know things, what questions we can ask to find things out, and what counts as good evidence.
The lessons are a mix of class discussion, pair activities and small group activities. The Inquiring Online resources also come with a set of Power Point slides for the interactive white board so that you can teach the children some key vocabulary and concepts such as fake news, mis- and disinformation, fake images, online advertising and sharing online.
Can you tell me more about the assessments?
The assessments are the same whether you choose to take part in the Inquiring Science or Inquiring Online trial. This is because the assessments cover how well children can use information – the questions cover things like telling the difference between fact and opinion, using evidence from a text, and deciding what is a good source of information. There are 10 questions in each assessment.
You will need a digital device per child, but the whole class doesn’t need to take the assessment at the same time. The assessment will take about 20 minutes to complete.
Will researchers be coming in to my school?
No. We will send you all of the resources you need: lesson materials and assessments. We would like to do some case studies, so we will ask a small number of schools if we can come in to talk to you and observe a lesson, but there’s no obligation to take part in this.
Will I get any training?
Yes. We will provide short videos that show you how to use the resources and tell you a bit more about the lessons. The videos will also cover inquiry learning and oracy teaching. We’ll also be running webinars which we will email you information about once you’ve signed up. These webinars will be recorded in case you can’t make it so that you can watch it in your own time.
Can more than one class per school take part?
Absolutely! More than one class in a year group can take part if your school has multiple-form entry, and/or more than one year group can take part.
My school is outside of England, can we take part?
Yes! If you teach children aged 7-11 then you can take part wherever you are in the world. We can send all of the resources electronically, and the training videos will be available online.
Do I need to get consent from parents/carers?
According to ethical guidelines, you do not have to get consent for children to take part in activities which are part of normal classroom practice, such as these lessons. Parents/carers could opt-out of their children taking the assessments at the start and end.
We will not be collecting data that could identify the children in your class, such as their names. We will only ask for the child’s age and their school.
We do have a letter template that you can personalise and send to parents to let them know about these lessons. We also have an opt-out consent form that we will send to you that you can personalise and send to parents. They will not be able to opt-out of the lessons, however, as you will be teaching them as part of normal classroom practice.
Any more questions?
Please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org