One of the pillars of successful learning is to ensure that every concept discussed in the classroom makes children wonder what would happen next. Thus, inquiry-based learning is a way for the children to feel safe in an environment where they can ask questions and find answers together with the educator or on their own (Donegan-Ritter & Fitzgerald, 2017). When planning a lesson based on an inquiry approach, the first thing to do would be to create a list of inquiries necessary for the teacher in order to convey the information successfully (Maher & Hall, 2016). Thus, the primary goal of inquiry-based learning would be the examination of plant growth. Prior to the lesson, the educator should define the extent to which the children are to engage with plants, how they would communicate in groups during the activity, and what are the potential learning outcomes of such an activity.
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Considering the fact that the lesson itself requires much theoretical fundamentals and practice, the lessons will be divided into three major parts: perception of general information on the matter of plant growth, technology-based plant growth simulator, and practicing real-life planting and journaling the growth stages. The latter is extremely important in terms of science experience practice, as hands-on knowledge is more likely to be processed and presented again later in life (Harlan & Rivkin, 2012; Hoisington & Winokur, 2016). The inquiries will be performed from the very first learning stage, as watching an educational video will result in children preparing questions concerning the topic, with other children having the ability to respond and explain the answer to the peer in case they grasped the information. During the next stages, the inquiry will happen both in terms of communication with the teacher and the peers, as children will work in groups when planting seeds and recording their development over time.
There exists a discrepancy between children’s perception of the classroom and their interaction with the real world. For the most part, this dissonance occurs when teachers are trying their best to isolate the learning environment from outside distractions and secure discipline as a major learning prerequisite. Thus, in order to promote real-world connections within a classroom, it is imperative to establish a flexible approach to the workflow in the classroom (Edutopia, 2015). It means that the classroom should turn into a combination of workspaces children can choose in order to integrate with the subject and other children. The creation of networking zones, along with the organization of quiet spaces, would help children understand their personal pace of information perception, and they would be more aware of how to interact with the real environment (Terry Holck, 2016).
Another important aspect to consider when developing real-world connections is the need to integrate social studies from an early age. Thus, it is important not to undermine the significance of such topics as diversity and self-perception in society only because the educator might feel discomfort. Instead, from the first primary school years, teachers should emphasize the importance of respecting the rights and privacy of others, keeping the environment clean, and promoting no hatred within the classroom based on one’s interests or appearances (Seefeldt et al., 2014). Moreover, it is important to integrate families into the process of learning by encouraging them to share their cultural and professional experiences in order to promote diversity and inclusiveness (Mindes, 2015). As a result, both a flexible environment and fundamentals of social studies will help kids feel more confident and involved in the real-world environment.
Donegan-Ritter, M., & Fitzgerald, L. M. (2017). Inquiry in inclusive schools: Preparing preservice teachers to plan and implement physical science learning centers. Science and Children, 76-80.
Edutopia. (2015). Flexible classrooms: Providing the learning environment that kids need [Video]. YouTube.
Harlan, J. D., & Rivkin, M.S. (2012). Science experiences for the early childhood years. Pearson.
Hoisington, C., & Winokur, J. (2016). Tools for physical science inquiry. Science and Children, 24-25.
Maher, A., & Hall, E. (2016). Creating a culture of scientific inquiry among educators in an early childhood context. Child Care Exchange, 57-60.
Mindes, G. (2015). Pushing up the social studies from early childhood education in the world. Young Children, 10-14.
Seefeldt, C., Castle, S., & Falconer, R. C. (2014). Social studies for the preschool/primary child (9th ed.) Pearson.
Terry Holck. (2016). The third teacher: The learning environment [Video]. YouTube.