Inquiry Circles for Math

Report
INQUIRY
CIRCLES
FOR MATH
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
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Currently I am taking my masters classes
through MSU to earn a literature specialist
endorsement.
During one class we were presented with the
concept of inquiry circles and the benefits that
they provide to students.
I thought many times while reading the inquiry
circle book, “It would be amazing to apply these
same concepts to mathematics curriculum.”
WHAT IS AN INQUIRY CIRCLE?
An inquiry circle is a small peer-led research
group that is responding to student driven
questions.
 They encourage students to explore, gather
information, plan, analyze, interpret, synthesize,
problem solve, take risks, create, conclude,
document, reflect on learning, and develop new
questions for further inquiry.
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Sackatchewan Online Curriculum, 2011, pg 2
Zosky, Schwab, & Fedorcha, slide 4
EXAMPLE OF AN INQUIRY CIRCLE
Inquiry: Antarctica
 Building prior knowledge/background knowledge
 Cross curricular integration
 Asking Questions
 Research
 Conclusion/Presentation
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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF INQUIRY
CIRCLES?
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All students:
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Construct deep knowledge and understanding rather
than passively receiving it
Are directly involved and engaged in the discovery of
new knowledge
Encounter alternative perspectives and conflicting
ideas that transform prior knowledge and experience
into deep understanding
Transfer new knowledge and skills to new
circumstances
Take ownership and responsibility for their ongoing
learning and mastery of curriculum content and
skills
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Kuhlthau & Toddm 2008, pg.1
BENEFITS OF SMALL GROUP WORK
Lifelike
 Generate energy for challenging work
 In small groups we are smarter
 Diversity is an asset
 Engaged, interactive learning
 Differentiated instruction
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Harvey & Daniels 2009
WHAT DO INQUIRY CIRCLES LOOK LIKE?
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Managed choice for students
Article
 General problem of choice
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Mini-lessons
Strategies for reasearch
 Small group communication
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Classroom arrangement
Desks in groups for discussion and group work
 Supplies readily available for all
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Zosky, Schwab, & Fedorcha, slide 6
APPLING INQUIRY CIRCLES TO MATH
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In mathematics, inquiry heavily encompasses
problem solving.
Problem solving includes processes to get from what
is known to discover what is unknown.
 When teachers show students how to solve a problem
and then assign similar problems, the students are
just practicing.
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Well formulated questions are broad in scope and
rich in possibility.
Sackatchewan Online Curriculum, 2011, pg 2
MATHEMATICS EXAMPLE
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Question: Evelyn is reading about Windermere
Castle in Scotland. Many years ago, when
prisoners were held in various cells in the
dungeon area, they began to dig passages
connecting each cell to each of the other cells in
the dungeon. If there were 20 cells in all, what is
the fewest number of passages that had to be
tunneled out over the years?
MATH INQUIRY QUESTIONS
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Should:
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Help students make sense of the mathematics
Are open ended in either answer or approach
Require the application of facts and procedures
Encourage students to make connections and
generalizations
Lead students to wonder more about a topic
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Schuster & Canavan Anderson, 2005, pg 3
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OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS WEB SITES
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Here are two really good websites where you can
find good open-ended questions covering a variety
of math concepts:
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http://www.fi.edu/school/math2/index.html
http://www.uky.edu/OtherOrgs/ARSI/www.uky.edu/p
ub/arsi/openresponsequestions/mathorg.pdf
Find one good question.
 Describe how you envision your students
participating in an inquiry circle related to that
question.
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EXAMPLES FROM THE CLASSROOM
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Go to:
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http://www.learner.org/resources/series13.html
Once here there are a variety of math lessons
that you can watch as examples of what an
inquiry circle might look like.
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Are there any questions?
REFERENCES
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Harvey, S., & Daniels, H. (2009). Inquiry Circles in
Actions. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Kuhlthau, C., & Todd, R. (2008). Guided Inquiry: A
framework for learning through school libraries in the
21st century schools. Newark, NJ: Rutgers University.
Saskatchewan Online Curriculum. (2011). Inquiry in
Mathematics. Saskatchewan Ministry of Education.
Schuster, L., & Canacan Anderson, N. (2005). Good
questions for math teaching: Why ask them and what
to ask, Grades 5-8. Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions
Publications.
Zosky, D., Schwab, S., & Fedorcha, L. Literature
Circles II.

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