Stimulus activities and pupil questions in enquiry-based learning
Interested in developing a more enquiry-based learning approach in your geography teaching? This short article written for the GA journal Geography Teaching gives a clear structure for how to involve your pupils in coming up with a robust and important enquiry question around which to frame their learning. The focus of this activity is Stratford 2012 but it is shown here as an example easily replicated for any scheme of work.
The key for successful enquiry-based learning is that teacher subject knowledge must be robust and they should be ‘all over it’ before teaching begins. Teachers should plan carefully to ensure that resources and teaching available to pupils gives ample opportunity for learning at the very top of the Blooms chart by the end of the enquiry.
The stimulus materials, in this example the hot topic bags, must be the last piece in the planning process. The stimulus should naturally lead pupils to consider some of the issues involved. Creating the stimulus material as a curriculum planning team can be a great way of improving subject knowledge in your geography team and getting everyone up to speed with a new topic.
This article promotes the idea of pupils coming up with the enquiry-based question. The students are not free to come up with any random enquiry question. They are free to frame the important questions against the background and resources presented to them by the teacher. Preparation and focus is key.