Our Cubelets Lesson Plans all use a common format. This format is our version of an Inquiry Framework. We intentionally modified this framework from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to represent how student mindsets change throughout the learning process.
At the beginning of a lesson or unit, students are filled with wonder and excitement. Ideally, they’re asking tons of questions and intuitively predicting the solutions based on their background experiences.
Then, students engage in the core learning experience. This is the investigation or engineering design challenge that will gently lead students to answers (and often many more questions!).
Finally, students try to explain their new learning in their own words. They reference background knowledge from prior to the lesson as well as new information they gathered during the investigation or design process. Students share their explanations with each other and use their classmates as sounding boards to tweak and refine their understanding. Sometimes they even go back to investigate or redesign again!
The very last step is less of a student mindset and more of an educator mindset. Taking the time to accurately gather formative data throughout a unit helps teachers more quickly identify students’ synthetic models and adjust student groups to better address common questions.
This Inquiry Framework is most valuable because it can easily be translated into inquiry investigations or into guided release of responsibility lessons. It can stretch to the length of an entire unit or squeeze everything into one individual lesson. Its flexibility is what makes it so useful. Every teacher, in every subject, can see themselves in our framework and also identify places to grow professionally.