Inquiry Based Learning

On Friday the 17th May, the staff spent the day with Kath Murdoch & Quarry Hill Primary School developing knowledge & understanding around Inquiry Based Learning and the Inquiry Model. Although we already apply some of the techniques of Inquiry Learning we are looking to further implement the approach so that our students become better ‘thinkers’ and have greater ownership of their learning. Below is a little bit of information about Inquiry Learning that may be of interest to you.



We have also begun a ‘Wonder Wall’ in the foyer where we will be asking students to place their questions or ‘wonderings’ to begin the thinking process. Please feel free to add your own ‘wonderings’ to this wall – this might spark the interest of one of our students and they may possibly research your question and get back to you with some information and/or answers to the questions/wondering you had!

What Is Inquiry?

Inquiry learning is a dynamic process of being open to wonder and puzzlement and coming to know and understand the world. Inquiry is based on the belief that students construct understanding by working and conversing together as they pose and solve problems, make discoveries and rigorously test the discoveries that arise in the course of shared activity.

The inquiry study stems from a question, problem or exploration that has meaning to the students and it allows them to build knowledge that leads to deep understanding. The inquiry study encourages students to develop habits of mind that encourage them to ask questions of;

  • evidence (how do we know what we know?)
  • viewpoint (who is speaking?)
  • pattern and connection (what causes what?)
  • supposition (how might things have been different?)
  • why it matters (who cares)

The study requires students to address a semi-structured question, issue or problem, relevant to curriculum outcomes, but grounded in the life and work beyond the school. It requires them to develop organizational and self management skills in order to complete the study and leads students to acquire and use competencies expected in high performance work organizations (eg. team work, problem solving, communication, decision making and project management).

There is often an overarching "umbrella" question that sparks and guides further and more specific questions. The "umbrella" question also encourages students to/provides students with scope to investigate their own questions related to the "umbrella" question.