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 Inquiry Learning Activity Ideas

 

These are ideas created and tried by teachers. They have been structured as collaborative activities to support the higher thinking processes, inquiry learning and to fit the SAUCE model.

 

The idea is to provide samples that teachers can use to help generate high quality tasks to suit their own pupils.

 

If you have tasks that have worked well within this approach and are willing to share them then please email Trevor on tbond@clear.net.nz

Year

Level

Task

Teacher

School

Whole school

Brightwater:

Research Brightwater, and 3 other similar sized towns

Carry out a compare and contrast activity

Identify 10 factors that make Brightwater distinct from the other 3 towns

Research quilting looking at how quilt blocks are made used and designed

Plan, design and create a quilt block to differentiate Brightwater from the other towns.

 

Brightwater School

 

Whole school

Wheels: 

Research the history of wheels

Research the way wheels are designed, and built

Identify what axles and hubs are, making sure you understand how they help to make wheels function effectively

Design and build a wheeled model (size criteria) that moves down an incline,

Your task is to make a vehicle that travels further than anyone else’s. Note: the only wheels, hubs and axles you can use are those you have designed and made yourself

 

Otakiri School
Whole school

Minibeast:

Choose a classification

Research it to identify 5 major characteristics

Choose an organism from that classification, research it in terms of environment and adaptations for survival

Design imaginary animal to fit chosen classification, justifying the fit.

Design environment, justify organism’s adaptations for survival

Evaluate organism’s survival capabilities in 3 other environments

 

Brightwater School
Whole school

Live Right, Feel Great:

Research healthy foods and find five criteria for healthy foods

Research some soup recipes finding 3 that you feel are healthy and 3 that you don’t think are healthy.

Choose one from each, compare and contrast to identify the significant differences.

Use what you have found out to help you to design and make a healthy soup. Share your healthy soup, its recipe and your reasons for its ingredients.

Think about equipment, ingredients, hygiene, table setting, manners, clean up.

 

Brightwater School
Whole School

Reggae Message

Reggae song lyrics often deal with subjects like religion, love, peace, poverty and injustice.  Listen to the supplied reggae tracks and identify the key message

Research a current N Z issue and decide on a message or stand your group wants to take.

Reggae is a music form that has its own special characteristics.  Research the aspects that make Reggae unique.

Research the instruments commonly used in Reggae

Use Garage Band to construct a reggae song that shares your message (2 minutes max)

Research CD covers and establish 3 criteria for a good cover.  Design and make a CD cover  that fits your message and matches your criteria.

Burn your composition to CD ready for sharing

Share your composition and CD cover with the class/audience explaining the techniques you used to get your message across.

Matakohe School
Yrs 0-3

Super Safe Sun Hats

Research hats, their component parts, how they are designed and made. Look at the range of purposes that lie behind different hat designs.

Look at hats designed for sun protection, establish a set of criteria for a good sun hat.

Visit the Hat factory and interview the hat makers to gather the information you need about hat design and manufacturing. Design and construct a sun hat that meets your criteria. Share with the class your finished hat, justifying the decisions made in planning, design and manufacture.

Mapua School

 

Yrs 1-2

Bubbles:

Find out about bubble mixtures that can be used to make big bubbles. Design your own recipe, make it, and be ready for our giant bubble blowing contest.

 

 

Springlands School

Yrs 2-3

 

Gold Mining:

Create a presentation that illustrates a problem faced my miners and how this problem was solved by using different technologies at different points in mining history.

 

Anthea Shattock

Otakiri School

Yrs 4-8

Musical instruments:

Research and discover the different types of groups musical instruments fall into

Research either wind or stringed musical instruments

Compare and contrast how their sounds are made

Choose either type, design and construct your own wind or stringed instrument from natural materials

Compose and play a musical piece between 20 seconds and a minute long.

 

Brightwater School
Yrs 4-8

Fitness circuits:

Research Fitness circuits, finding 5 different activities and the reasons for those activities to be included.

Choose a particular fitness or strength aspect that you think is important for the pupils at our school.

Develop a new circuit task that targets that particular strength or fitness aspect.

Share the task with the class. 

You need to think about information on circuit card, activity type, value to your body, muscle groups used.

 

Brightwater School
Yrs 4-10

Magnets

Title: Smart Metal

Task:   Magnets are used all over the world for all sorts of tasks.

Research magnets and find out what 5 useful properties of a magnet are.

Research and find 8 different uses that magnets are put to.

Design and build a toy that utilises magnets.

Share the toy with the class, explaining and demonstrating the role that magnets play in its operation.

 

Yrs 4-10

Olympic Games

A few years ago the International Olympic Committee decided to limit the Olympic Games to 28 sports giving about 300 actual competitive events. There are many sports that would like to be included in the Olympic Games.

 

Your task is to research the Olympic Games and identify the current 28 sports.

You will need to examine the criteria that are used to assess if any given sport may be eligible for inclusion in the games.

Choose a new sport to be included in the Games and present a case to the Committee to justify the application.

There are only allowed to be 28 sports …. So you will also have to decide which sport will be removed from the games and present your case to argue for its removal.

 

Yrs 4-10

Terrorism

Title: A black message!

 

Do some research and find 5 examples of acts of terrorism that have occurred in different countries during the last two years.

Prepare a presentation that outlines briefly what the act was, the responsible group, and the message they were trying to give.

Outline what you believe the expected and actual results of the act were.

For each act suggest an alternative action that would have got the group’s message across in a positive way.

 

Yrs 4-10

Christmas

Title: Get Real!

Snow, snow men, icy windows, woolen hats and gloves, roast meals, hot puddings, and cheerful fires, these are all things we see on our Christmas cards.

 

Research our New Zealand Christmas, develop a list of 10 significant aspects of our New Zealand Christmas and support each choice with a sound reason.

Develop a questionnaire to find out what other people think.

Use the  factors you have chosen to design a set of five Kiwi Christmas cards that you could present to Holdbrook Cards ready for the coming Christmas season.

 

Yrs 4-10

Virtues.

Research the meaning of the word virtue.

Take a good look at your classroom and construct a list of 10 virtues that you think would be important for any person who comes in to this room should have.

Place your 10 virtues in order of importance.

Prepare a drama that takes your five top virtues and shows people who have and do not have each virtue, to demonstrate their importance.

 

 

Yrs 5-6

Totem Poles:

Find out about totem poles, their purpose and symbols.

Research the special characteristics of the Marlborough region. Design  a totem pole that celebrates these special characteristics.

Build the totem pole which will then be placed within our school gardens. (Parental help will be provided for building)

Springlands School

 

Yrs 5-6

Insects:

Research the sorts of environments that different insects live in. Use this information to design your own special environment.

Research the characteristics of insects and use this information to help you design an insect that is suited to and able to survive in your new environment. Present to the class your environment and your insect and justify how this insect is especially suited to the environment.

 

Extension: Examine some of the other environments and decide if your insect would be able to survive in them.

Whitney School

Yrs 5-6

Camp Food: Version 1.

Use the food pyramid to find out how many servings of each food group are required each day to make sure you are eating healthy foods.

Prepare a possible breakfast and lunch menu for 2 days using the food pyramid guide to make sure children are eating healthy food on camp.

Calculate the quantity and cost of the required food if purchased at Countdown Supermarket.

Show your costs on a mind map or shopping list using Kidspiration.

You will present your menus to the class on Friday.  The successful plan will be the one that has considered a range of popular choices and value for money.

 

Mike Reed

Springlands School

Yrs 5-6

Camp Food: Version 2.

Use the food pyramid to find out how many servings of each food group are required each day to make sure you are eating healthy foods.

Use the minimum number of servings from each food group to prepare a possible breakfast and lunch menu for 2 days so that children are eating healthy food on camp.

Show your menu on a mind map or shopping list using kidspiration.

Calculate the quantity and cost of the required food if purchased at Woolworths Supermarket.

You will present your menus to the class on Friday.  The successful plan will be the one that has considered a range of popular choices and value for money.

Mike Reed

Springlands School

Yrs 5-6

Cartoons: Version 1.

A Cartoonist who creates daily strip and Sunday strip cartoons uses a range of techniques from the list below.

Tags   Panels   Cliches   Speech Balloons   Onomatopoeia

Lettering

 

Task 1:

Choose a daily strip cartoon from the selection given.  Stick the cartoon in the centre of a sheet of coloured A4 paper.  Use labels (remember guidelines and write in black pen) to show how the cartoonist has used the techniques in his cartoon strip.

 

Task 2:

Choose a joke from the selection given.  Create 3 draft daily strips to tell the joke using your own characters, created from the given guidelines.

Choose your best idea and publish.  Stick your cartoon strip to a sheet of A4 paper and label your cartoon to show the techniques you have used.

Mike Reed

Springlands School

 

Yrs 5-6

Cartoons: Version 2.

A Cartoonist who creates daily strip and Sunday strip cartoons uses a range of techniques from the list below.

Tags   Panels   Cliches   Speech Balloons   Onomatopoeia

Lettering

 

Task 1:

Choose a daily strip cartoon from the selection given.  Stick the cartoon in the centre of a sheet of coloured A4 paper.  Use labels (remember guidelines and write in black pen) to show how the cartoonist has used the techniques in his cartoon strip.

Task 2:

Choose a joke from the selection given.  Create 3 draft daily strips to tell the joke using your own characters and these techniques used by cartoonists.

 

Choose your best idea and publish.  Explain to your group how you have used each technique.  Ask your group to suggest improvements you could make using these techniques.

Mike Reed

Springlands School

 

 

Yrs 5-6

Food Preservation

You have been chosen for 'Junior Survivor'. You will be taken on a 2 week journey by boat to a desert island which has a fresh water supply. There will be no freezer or  fridge on the boat. You need to prepare and package fresh food in a manner that will give you your meals for the two days on the island. You are not allowed to repeat menu items on the different meals.

You will need to use fair test procedures to experiment with your methods and systems for preserving food. You will need to carry out research on the different ways of preserving food and experiment with your menu items so that you will be happy to eat each item of food after it has been stored for the two weeks.

Springlands School
Yrs 5-10

Musical Instruments

Research and discover the different types of groups musical instruments fall into

Research either wind or stringed musical instruments

Compare and contrast how their sounds are made

Choose either type, design and construct your own wind or stringed instrument from natural materials

Compose and play a musical piece between 20 seconds and a minute long.

Yrs 5-10

Live Right, Feel Great  

Research healthy foods and find five criteria for healthy foods

Research some soup recipies finding 3 that you feel are healthy and 3 that you don’t think are healthy.

Choose one from each, compare and contrast to identify the significant differences.

Use what you have found out to help you to design and make a healthy soup. Share your healthy soup, its recipe and your reasons for its ingredients.

Think about equipment, ingredients, hygiene, table setting, manners, clean up.

Yrs 5-10

Fitness Circuits

Research Fitness circuits, finding 5 different activities and the reasons for those activities to be included.

Choose a particular fitness or strength aspect that you think is important for the pupils at our school.

Develop a new circuit task that targets that particular strength or fitness aspect.

Share the task with the class. 

You need to think about information on circuit card, activity type, value to your body, muscle groups used.

 

Yrs 5-10

Healthy Camp Food

Use the food pyramid to find out how many servings of each food group are required each day to make sure you are eating healthy foods.

Use the minimum number of servings from each food group to prepare a possible breakfast and lunch menu for 2 days so that children are eating healthy food on camp.

Yrs 5-10

SPORTS

Choose and research 3 sports with a common element

Compare/contrast  space, rules, equipment, numbers, positioning

Design a new better sport around the same common elements

Outline  space, rules, equipment, numbers, positioning

Justify reasons for this being an improvement.

Criteria:  outside, ball, team, one other piece of equipment.

Yrs 5-10

Advertising

Title: 30 Seconds and 10 centimetres To Sell.

Task:    Your teacher will place an item on display.

You will need to research advertising and the major concepts and tricks used by advertisers to sell items. Using the things you learn you will need to prepare an advertising campaign to sell the product. This campaign will cover a variety of media and will need to include:

 

A newspaper advertisement, Black and white, (10 centimeters deep by 5 centimeters wide.)

 

A magazine add: colour, (10 centimeters deep by 5 centimeters wide.)

 

A radio advertisement: 30 seconds exactly (use sound recorder)

 

A television advertisement: 30 seconds (use movie maker, video camera or power point)

 

An advertisement to run at the picture theatre before a film: sound, text and still images.

 

Your campaign must have a specific target audience, be targeted to that audience, and have an identifiable common thread.

 

When you present your campaign you also need to explain what advertising techniques you have used and why.

 

Yrs 5-11

Production and Play based activities

"The Piperman."   (this could be altered to work for any script)

Set production:

Your task is to design the stage for Act x of the Piperman Production.

You will need to carefully read the set description, listing the main features of the set. You will also need to research the architecture of the country and period, listing major features of style and materials that were used for buildings and furniture.

Use all this information to design a simple but accurate stage setting for the scene.

 

 Arts/technology

Your task is to design the costume for the character of xxxxxx in act Act x of the Piperman Production.

You will need to carefully read the set description, listing any costume details.

You will also need to research the clothing of the country and period, listing major features of style and materials that were used at that time.

Use all this information to design a suggested costume.

Contact local costume suppliers and share with them your design, establish if you could hire something suitable and its cost. Share with the costume manager/director the options for hiring or making the costume.

 

Drama/Narrative

The director of the Piperman production wants to dramatically alter the final scene of the production to have an unexpected ending. You and your team have been requested to re-write the conclusion.

You will need to examine the final scene carefully, listing the decisions and actions taken by the main characters. Decide what other actions could have been taken and then think through the possible outcomes of those decisions.

As a team you need to draft three narratives for the scene with a variety of endings.

From the three make a choice on the most interesting ending and then practice acting it out. Share with the class your different endings and explain which you finally chose and why.

 

Note: the model will be used in this situation as a problem solving process rather than a research process. The key questions would be along the lines of:

  • What decisions did xxxx make?

  • What other decisions could he/she have made?

  • What are the possible outcomes of the decision?

  • Which outcome would make a good ending for the play?

This could be done as a flow chart.

 

Some research would need to be done on the types of endings eg comic, tragic, dramatic, happy ever after etc.

 

Technology

At the end of the Piperman play the town is still over-run by rats. The mayor contracts your team to design and build a rat trap.

 

Your design must not cost more than $10 to construct.

It must be safe for crawling babies.

It must catch the rat and hold it unharmed so it can be dealt with humanely.

Design three or four alternatives, and then negotiate with your teacher which one best meets the criteria.

Prepare an advertising campaign to sell your trap to the local people.

Remember that your campaign will have to suit the available technologies of the time.

You will have to research how mass communication was carried out in a period of time when many people could not read or write and there were no technologies like TV and radio.

Prepare a demonstration to show the class how you would advertise your product.

 

Yrs 6-8

Olympics:

Choose and research 3 sports with a common element

Compare/contrast  space, rules, equipment, numbers, positioning

Design a new better sport around the same common elements

Outline  space, rules, equipment, numbers, positioning

Justify reasons for this being an improvement.

Criteria:  outside, ball, team, one other piece of equipment.

 

Brightwater School
Yrs 6-10

International Languages

Title: It’s all in the words!

Task:  

Research languages and translate this sentence (I am lost and want to go home.) into 10 languages including Maori.

Identify the grammar structure for each language, and identify which languages have a similar structure to Te Reo.

Prepare a presentation that explains what your group believes to be the most common structure and how we could use this to help us learn a language.

 

 

Yrs 7-8

Explorers:

Research one of Captain Cooks voyages, map the voyage indicating 4 incidents that occurred during the voyage.

Examine each incident and list the skills and abilities demonstrated by Captain Cook in each incident.

Research a modern explorer (Peter Hillary or Buzz Aldrin)

and decide if they used the same skills and abiliteies.

Present to the class how these skills and abilities may help us overcome problems in our lives

Wayne Howes

Mokoia Intermediate

Yrs 7-8

Windmills:

Research how windmills work.

Design a windmill that will work regardless of which direction the wind comes from.

Create a working model to illustrate the effectiveness of your design.

Wendy Dorothy

Te Uku School

Yr 7 - 8

Travel Surprise:

You are a Travel Agent working for Holiday Shoppe.  Your company has been running a competition with a prize of 7 days holiday anywhere in New Zealand, to a maximum value of $7000 for travel, accommodation and activities, for 2 adults and 2 children.

Today the winning family have come in to talk about their prize and to ask you to plan their holiday.

 

Let me introduce you to the Smith family and their interests:-

Mum – shopping, hot pools and restaurants

Dad – golf, skiing

James (15) – white water rafting,

Jane (13) – Museums, Art Galleries, Craft Shops.

 

Your task is to:-

Plan destinations within New Zealand where everybody can have their interests met

Prepare an itinerary, that includes all travel arrangements and accommodation arrangements

Calculate all costs for travel, accommodation and activity costs and ensure that these fit within their budget.

 

Present your itinerary in one of the following ways:-

-          Diagram/wall chart

-          Powerpoint

-          Folder of tour documentation 

Your presentation must include a travel map.

Golden Bay High School
Yrs 7-8

Marae Visit:

Many schools pay a visit to their local marae.

It would be valuable for the pupils to have some knowledge and understanding about the marae, its history and the protocols that govern behaviour for visitors before they arrive. Your group has been requested to design a presentation that could be given to schools before they visit. You will need to research your local marae and gather the relevant information.  Design a presentation your group could give to schools before they visit our local marae. Visiting groups will need to have an understanding of marae protocol and some knowledge about the structures and artworks.
You need to create an oral presentation supported by overhead transparency, diagrams, powerpoint, charts or poster.

Wendy Dorothy

Te Uku School

 

Yrs 7-8

 

Egypt:

Many years ago, in the time of the Great Pharaohs of Egypt, the people of the time, including the children, had very different lives to ours today. Think of one day in the life of a modern day 11-13 year old child, compare all aspects of your life with the life of a child of ancient Egypt. From your findings create 2 Wasjig jigsaw puzzles; one showing a scene from your life and the other showing an equivalent scene from the life of an ancient Egyptian child

 

Vicky Nairn

Morrinsville Intermediate

Yrs 7-10

Epidemics

Title:   Sick and Sicker.

 

In the last few years we had a few international scares with epidemics.

Research the topic of epidemics and find 5 reasons why these are more of an issue in today’s society than they were 50 years ago.

Prepare a presentation that outlines the steps our government could take to keep New Zealand safe from an epidemic like the Asian Chicken Virus.

 

Yrs 8-11

Religion and Conflict

Title: I believe/You believe.

 

Muslim, Judaism, Hindu, Budhist, Catholic, and Christain. These religions have aspects that make them similar in some ways yet also bring them into conflict.

Choose two religions that are currently involved in conflict somewhere in the world.

Research them and create a comparison chart that outlines significant similarities and differences. Research the conflict and establish the major reasons for the conflict. Suggest a possible solution, explain why it should be acceptable to both religious groups.

Yr 10

Choosing A Family Dog

Construct a comprehensive questionnaire and complete research which will help you to select the most appropriate dog for the family.

 

Situation: A family of four wishes to purchase a dog. Your task is to identify the most appropriate dog for the family. The family consists of a working mother age 43, a 10 year old school girl and two primary school girls aged 7 and 9. They live in a new, semi-rural, residential home with a budgie and 2 goldfish. They have a limited budget and are willing to share the responsibility of looking after the dog.

There are many dogs available in the country. Select three breeds of dog that would be most suitable.

From your selection make a recommendation as to which of the three breeds you would choose for the family and explain your reasons for choosing this particular breed.

Extension: Choose two unsuitable breeds from the many available and give reasons for their unsuitability.

Golden Bay High School