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Inquiry-based Learning and Content Area Standards

Inquiry-based approaches can be found across content area.

Inquiry is closely related to reading and writing. According to Barbara Stripling in Curriculum Connections through the Library (2003, p. 7), "unfortunately, reading instruction often stops after the decoding and fluency stages, yet developing increasingly sophisticated reading strategies can continue for a lifetime."

Inquiry-based instruction is a central theme of the National Science Standards (Inquiry and the National Science Teaching Standards) as well as state standards. For example, Indiana Science Standard 5.1.2 states: "begin to evaluate the validity of claims based on the amount and quality of the evidence cited."

video clipsGo to Looking at Learning.

Choose Workshop 4 - Inquiry (Windows Media Player - 6 Programs). Science Education Professor Hubert Dyasi discusses inquiry-based learning in science and explains why it is essential in all subjects. In this workshop, you will see several classrooms where inquiry learning is taking place and explore numerous strategies you can use in your own classroom. (You will need to register for this FREE website from Anneberg/CPB.)

Optional Video - View Learning Science through Inquiry (Windows Media Player - 6 Programs). This series of video workshops shows scientific inquiry teaching and learning in action, with real teachers and students in real classrooms.

Inquiry is evident in other academic areas too. Indiana Social Studies 6.1.29 states: "form research questions, and use a variety of information resources to obtain and evaluate historical data on the people, places, events, and developments in history of Europe and the Americas". Similar standards can be found in English, Mathematics, and other areas. A seventh grade English standard asks students to "assess the adequacy, accuracy, and appropriateness or the author's evidence to support claims." Another asks students to "identify topics, ask and evaluate questions, and develop ideas"

Even kindergartners are asked to "explore, observe, ask questions, discuss observations, and seek answers."

Information Inquiry Across the Curriculum

Information inquiry is a topic that weaves through the standards of all subject areas. Notice how the standards below relate directly to the information literacy standards.

Indiana Standards

Let's use the Indiana Standards as an example.

try itSkim the Indiana Academic Standards.

eye means readRead the Correlation of the Library Information Literacy Standards and the Indiana Academic Standards under Other Standards section.

Examine the Social Studies and Science standards below. Can you find Library Information Literacy Standards that connect to these content-specific standards?

Social Studies Standard 4.1.26 Generate questions and seek answers about people, places, and events using primary source and secondary source materials.

Social Studies 7.1.32 Identify and evaluate solutions and alternative courses of action chosen by people to resolve problems that have confronted people during various periods in the history of Africa, Asia, and Australia/Oceania.

Science 7.2.8 Question claims based on vague attributes such as "Leading doctors say..." or on statements made by celebrities or other outside the area of their particular expertise.

There are many ways to connect information and technology literacy skills to content area standards. For lots of examples, go to the Information Standards Across the Curriculum page.

try itComplete the Teaching to Academic Standards free, online workshop from Disney Learning Partnership.

Go to Developing Educational Standards, MCREL Content Knowledge, or Teacher Tap: Education Standards if you're interested in US national or state level content area standards.

Learn More

Education World: National Standards. Links

Ercegovac, Zorana (2003). Bringing the Library into the Lab. School Library Journal. How information literacy skills make better science students?

Standards from The Educator's Reference Desk. Links

Todd, Ross J. (1995). Integrated Information Skills Instruction: Does It Make a Difference? SLMQ, 23(2). The author argues that integrated information skills instruction is critical and should be lead by the school library media specialist.

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