Inquiry Based Questions

In the past two weeks of Inquiry-Based Learning graduate class, I have been working on developing good questions that are inquiry-based and looking at web-based tools that can help students with the inquiry.   If you have been following my journey, helping students develop good questioning techniques is something that interests me.  Understanding how to ask questions for different situations is a part of learning.  In addition, this helps students learn by doing and take risks by asking questions they don’t know the answer to but can investigate by research, experimentation, and data analysis.  

Students are naturally curious, they want to learn about the world around them.  By helping them learn how to ask questions we can assist them with the understanding that we are looking to aim for higher-level thinking.  Students should understand Bloom’s taxonomy and aim for the applying and analyzing questions:  How, Why, Should, Would?.  Inquiry questions also are beyond this as well, you need to be able to research, develop methods, and utilize data (Bell, Smetana, Binns, 2005).  This is key to being able to sustain scientific inquiry.  Please note I am saying scientific inquiry; data analysis is needed in some places, but not always in an inquiry-based classroom.  You can have an inquiry-based History classroom. They are still doing analysis if they are studying trends, patterns and providing evidence from the documentation.  In addition to asking the research-based questions needed of history.   However, this should not be a free-for-all, scaffolding this type of learning for students will assist them with developing strong inquiry-based skills, in addition, to assuring the concepts for the course are present. I am learning more and more about how to assist students with developing these questions.  This is more challenging than expected, as making sure the questions are truly ones that can be investigated. 

Focusing on investigable questions means students can discover the answers through activities, labs, and having evidence to support their hypothesis should be the goal (Wilkes, n.d).   We can start by looking at the concepts and facts of our units and coming up with questions that demonstrate inquiry.  When I am creating my questions, I am thinking about: How can students explore this question? Where can they gather the information? Can they ask more questions based on this knowledge? Can they form an educated guess to study?  Can they find some data online to review?  Can they compare their information to that of an expert or theory?  I really never focused my questions to make sure they are investigable, this course is focusing me to assure that students can use inquiry-based questions.  For example, I am looking at Data and how a computer processes data. I want students to look at the variety of number systems a computer uses, hexadecimal, binary, and compare to our decimal system.  My inquiry questions for this are how do computers binary system similar to our number system? How can color be represented as data in a computer? These questions explore both hexadecimal and binary in addition to how similar the system is to our decimal system.  These are going to be done through teacher lead inquiry to help students develop an understanding of how to create their own inquiry process. 

 As I am completing my own inquiry process about inquiry-based classrooms. I am learning how to embrace the process more than the content and discover more about my own teaching.  I find inquiry-based questions easy for APCSP, AP Stats, and DET as these courses are designed to be more inquiry-based.  How can I develop this in my other classes?  Can I teach my content in APCS through the use of inquiry?  This is something I want to think more about.  To create a true inquiry-based classroom, we need to develop our own habits of mind.  Alper (2018) mentions that we need to let go of control, of content, and of avoiding discomfort. These are habits of mind that teachers need to think about when developing good inquiry-based units.  Teachers need to be okay with allowing mistakes and developing a partnership in learning with the students to fully develop students’ inquiry abilities. This helps students become better scientists and better citizens of the world.


Alper, C. (2018, August, 17). Embracing inquiry-based instruction. Edutopia. 

Bell, R. L., Smetana, L., & Binns, I. (2005, October). SIMPLIFYING inquiry INSTRUCTION. The Science Teacher, 72(7), 30-33. Retrieved from 

Wilkes University (n.d.). Unit 4 -Linking curricular goals to inquiry: Topic D: Understanding question types. In EDIM 513 Inquiry-Based Learning Spring 2022 Retrieved from 

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