inquiry-based learning

Open-ended Activities: One Right Definition?

I have been teaching Art, Music and Movement to college students for a while. There are certain concepts we try to get across to practitioners that are important to ECE professionals, and encouraged by our professional organization, NAEYC. One of those concepts is the idea of open-ended activities. What are open-ended activities? Do you put […]

5 Simple Ways to Give Students Feedback During Project Based Learning: #HackingPBL

Grant Wiggins defined feedback as, “information about how we are doing in our efforts to reach a goal.” A few specific examples he included were: A friend tells me, “You know, when you put it that way and speak in that softer tone of voice, it makes me feel better.” A baseball coach tells me, […]

Five Reasons Your Rubric Needs a Makeover: #HackingPBL


How will my students and I know they are learning what they are supposed to learning? How will I assess this? These are easily two of the more popular questions that emerge as educators make the shift to project based learning, and some form of a rubric (and its effective use) is usually a big […]

Three Reasons to Embrace (Some) Worksheets

As I began my student teaching about ten years ago, I attended the first-day-back faculty meeting, during which the building principal chastised teachers, “Don’t use worksheets! They’re not best practice!” Thinking about what she said, the same two questions come to mind now as they did back then: What should teachers be using instead? Can […]

Tips for Imaginative Educators #9: Let them Obsess

Don’t worry, theyaren’t hoarders. You may be relieved to hear that it’s very common for young peopleto collect things. Starting fromabout age 7 through to about age 14 or 15, collecting is a popular pastime formanyyoung people.What did you collect? One thing Icollected was stickers. I still have my sticker books and–believe it or not–30+ […]

10 Ways to Rethink Your Project Based Learning Directions #HackingPBL

Once you have a solid project idea, getting it down on paper and delivering it to your students can be a daunting task. At the beginning of the planning process, you often don’t have much more than a blank slate and a job that involves creating directions that will hopefully help to bring to life […]

5 Ways to Avoid Project Based Learning Fluff #HackingPBL

Marshmallow fluff

When I taught fourth grade, I was initially met with skepticism from other teachers when I started to regularly engage my students in project based learning (PBL) and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). I think much of this apprehension existed because some of my practices did in fact perpetuate the myth that PBL was fluff […]

Busting 5 Myths of Inquiry-Based Learning: #HackingPBL

inquiry learning

This post was written by Erin Murphy (@MurphysMusings5) and was originally published on her blog. The energy in Mrs. Bauer’s sixth grade science classroom is almost palpable. Groups of three to four students are out of their chairs leaning over their tables to get a closer look at a petri dish placed in the center. […]

Reimagining Learning Spaces with Design Thinking: #HackingPBL

Before I left the classroom a few years ago, there were a few items on my bucket list I never got to accomplish (and I would have accomplished them had I taught for just one more year)…One of these missed opportunities was a complete redesign of my classroom. You see, the final year I taught […]

How to Transform Step-by-Step Directions into Inquiry


In a previous post we explored a potential problem with prepackaged STEM products (or STEM in a box). In short, the problem is when schools and districts invest more in them than they do in their teachers. Because, if the ultimate goal is to leverage these resources to promote inquiry-based learning (which it should be), […]

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