Category Archives: Inquiry Learning

CSI Experience – Forensic Science

Analyze forensic data and test your skills in this online CSI: The Experience game. This educational experience was carefully designed by experts at Rice University to maximize student learning.

Rice University’s Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning developed this CSI online web adventure. The Center engages in research, development and consulting on innovative applications of advanced technology for teaching and learning in a variety of settings. The CSI Web Adventure allows the user to experience the science behind the investigations.

Older students (and their teachers) should get a kick out of this interactive site that allows them to explore and take part in the actual science that goes on behind the scenes in a forensics lab.  It is image rich, and easy to navigate.  There are 3 levels to work through, that will test how you apply the knowledge you have learnt along the way.  Overall, it’s a great site that is well worth the visit!


ExploraTree – Free Online Library of Thinking Guides

Exploratree is a free web resource where you can access a library of ready-made interactive thinking guides, print them, edit them or make your own. You can share them and work on them in groups too.

The Exploratree web resource has been developed by Futurelab and emerged out of our work on the Enquiring Minds project. It provides a series of ready-made interactive ‘thinking guides’ or ‘frameworks’ which can support students’ projects and research. Thinking guides support the thinking or working through of an issue, topic or question and help to shape, define and focus an idea and also support the planning required to investigate it further. Exploratree guides can be used as a basis for whole class discussion, or emailed to individuals or groups to complete. They can also be used as a presentation tool to share your findings and thinking with others. As well as providing a set of ready to use thinking guides, which are completely customisable and shareable, Exploratree also enables teachers and students to create their own simply and easily.

With Exploratree you can:

  • Use the ready-made thinking guides
  • Make a new thinking guide from scratch
  • Use it to set class projects
  • Print them out (they can go as big as A0)
  • Change and customise thinking guides, you can add or change text, shapes, images etc.
  • As a teacher, you can set up the sequence that you want the thinking guide to be revealed in, so that you can stage the thinking activity
  • You can fill in a thinking guide and complete your project on the website
  • You can present your project
  • You can send your thinking guide to a whole group of people
  • You can submit a thinking guide for comments, so it can’t be edited but just reviewed
  • Work in groups on the same thinking guide

The Exploratree idea came from observing the process of classroom enquiry. Working with teachers and children over a term in Autumn 2006, we found that the collages and projects that the students were working on could benefit from being created digitally as they could be more easily edited and changed, presented to the group, and shared with other people. We also found that many teachers and students find thinking guides a very useful resource in the classroom and that a website where you can print, share and set thinking guide projects could really help on enquiry projects.

Eyes on the Sky, Feet on the Ground

This Eyes on the Sky – Feet on the Ground site was developed by Harvard.    It has links to hundreds of fun explorations into astronomy as a classroom tool for learning how to theorize, experiment, and analyze data.  The activities are fully illustrated and contain detailed, step-by-step instructions as well as suggested discussion topics. The site is lots of fun for teachers and students alike.

Eyes on the Sky – Feet on the Ground contains the complete text and graphics of the collection along with related links, a table of contents, an explanation of how to use this book, and email links to the authors.

Don’t forget to check out the Everyday Classroom Tools for an inquiry-based science curriculum!

Enquiring Minds – Inquiry Based Teaching Resource

Enquiring Minds explores how students’ ideas, interests and experiences can inform the content, processes and outcomes of teaching and learning in schools. At a time of curriculum reform in primary and secondary schools, Enquiring Minds provides guidance and research to help support schools through the process of change.

It shows how schools can develop enquiry-based approaches to the curriculum, teaching, and learning. This site features all of the materials, guidance, research evidence and resources produced during the project.

A place of note within the site would be the digital tools section.  Digital tools are an integral part of the Enquiring Minds approach. They provide some examples of the kinds of new technologies that they think may benefit learners and teachers.  The fantastic thing is that you can filter your search to what stage of inquiry you are up to. 

Some of the digital tools available are quite amazing in what they can generate and produce.  If you’re tired of the same old resources and want to incorporate some more ICT’s into your units – then this is the site for you!