In this conversation, we will be thinking about how to establish a self-sustaining culture of student driven inquiry in middle age students and/or students who are new to project based learning. In our first (half!) a year, Science Leadership Academy Middle School (SLA-MS) we’ve worked to lay the groundwork for students to ask and explore meaningful questions in a variety of thought strains. As is to be expected, some students are catching the “inquiry bug” and are eagerly following their interests. For others, though, this is significantly challenging due to a variety of factors including age, developmental level, current stamina and skill level, and a generally slow adjustment to our “unschooling.” By looking at a few case studies from our school, and learning about experiences in your school settings, we’re eager to think together about how we help students to become more independent and self-sustaining learners. How do we find and ask follow up questions? How do we stick with a line of thinking long enough to reap its benefits? How do we utilize our peers rather than funneling our work through the teacher? And, perhaps most importantly, how do we transfer what we learn from one exploration into a new, or novel, situation?
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