Cultivating Curiosity-Inquiry Based Learning

Inquiry based learning is a great way to spark curiosity in students.  By allowing students to to have a hand in directing their education it gives them greater interest in what they are learning.  When the students are genuinely interested in the information they are being provided they are more likely to learn and retain the information.  Using inquiry based learning may not be the easiest classroom technique, but it can be the most beneficial to the students and to you as a teacher.


The key to inquiry based learning is questions.  By implementing questions to lessons and activities you can find out what your students already know, what they would like to learn, the way each individual student learns best, and much more than can benefit you and your students in the classroom. I always hear a teacher’s main job is to guide your students.  Asking the right questions helps you do just that.  It is important to ask the right questions, the questions that will get the interest of your students.  Questions can come into play at any point throughout a unit. You can brainstorm with your students at the beginning, have class discussions throughout a unit, surveys at the end of each day, or at the end of the unit you can review with your class.  What is even more important than simply asking questions is making sure you act on your student’s answers.  Asking for your student’s participation wont do any good if you do not take their questions and answers and use them in the lessons.  You have to show that you genuinely care as an educator.  For example, if you are teaching a lesson on Nebraska History and the students say they would like to learn more about the Oregon Trail, but you completely skip over that lesson the students may feel that you do not have a genuine interest in their interests.


Inquiry based learning can be difficult to implement in the classroom. When a teacher asks a question they often have to fish for answers and student participation. Once our students feel comfortable with us and in the classroom is when inquiry based learning really works.  As teachers we have to be flexible.  If the class is not completely comfortable with discussions maybe start off with projects, written assignments, or presentations. There are many different techniques to inquiry based learning, the main goal behind all of techniques is that you cultivate student curiosity and inspire them to be learners.

What the Heck Is Inquiry Based Learning

Bringing Student Passion to Learning

Resources for Inquiry Based Learning

Check out Andrew Miller, Vicki Davis, and Heather Wolpert-Gawron for some great tips on Inquiry Based Learning and more!




  1. I think inquiry based learning is good in theory, but getting students to participate is definitely a challenge. Even if they are usually engaged, there might just be off days where no one really wants to participate.


    1. I think inquiry based definitely has its place. It is harder in core classes like math or science, I plan to teach more of an elective. There are definitely going to be days that are more challenging than others, but I like the idea of students having more of a direct role in their education, balance is key!


  2. I would have to say that my favorite thing about inquiry-based learning is that the students have a lot of the control on what they want to learn deeper. More responsibility is placed on the student and I think it helps spark their passion because they know they are in control of their learning.


  3. I’ve read a few posts on inquiry-based learning and it seems that curiosity is key. The teacher has to be able to effectively surface the students interests and then base lessons and direction around that. The challenge could be getting students to challenge themselves with their inquiries, but overall I think this is a very sound approach to get the ball rolling with students.


    1. I think Inquiry based learning will definitely have it’s challenges, but I hope by inspiring curiosity in the classroom students will then be more likely to learn outside of the classroom as well.


  4. I think what’s appealing about inquiry-based learning (as with all the other learning approaches) is the longevity of the approach; it teaches learners one of the most important parts of lifelong learning: asking questions. I like your mention of “I always hear a teacher’s main job is to guide your students” — this is something that’s at the core of the philosophy in my workplace; it allows the learners to continue on without us, which is something that should be the goal of every educator.


  5. I think by placing more responsibility on the students is a great way to keep them interested and creative. It is always better when a student has to do more than just sit and take notes, by getting them to think a little more they are able to take their learning one step deeper.


  6. I was curious about this learning approach, so I’m glad you decided to write about it! It is definitely a unique way of learning and teaching, but it sounds like it can be very effective, as well. I think it would make the students feel more important, and they would be able to learn about what they are curious about! Thanks for sharing!


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