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Friday, October 30, 2009

Math and Guided Inquiry


Robin M.  demonstrated guided inquiry during the last period of the day.  She focused on providing a learning opportunity to all her students to develop a structure for small group work.   The format she used was PALS, where two students review the problem solving process regarding a particular equation.  Students take turns as student and instructor.  Questions and responses are scripted.

Robin opened the class by explaining why the students learning this process and then proceeded to scaffold them as they practiced the strategy.

This group has presented a number of challenges, therefore, Robin tried this format to see what the results would be.  As we watched, students became more comfortable with the process and said it had helped them with their review for the test.  The team then reviewed the demonstration afterwards and brainstormed ideas to assist these students.

This is a clear example of how to prepare students for guided inquiry by beginning where they are and taking them to where they are capable of going.  Contrary to many misconceptions, students are not all at one level when they move up to the high school and the staff needs to be receptive to individual differences.

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