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Inquiry Journal

Format

The Inquiry Journal provides students with a basic framework in which to record their Inquiries. Students record their wonderings/questions, their predictions, the steps in their inquiry, and their observations and conclusions. Students are also encouraged to ask further questions that arise from their discoveries and can lead to further inquiries.

Why use it?

  • To provide students with a framework for recording their inquiries
  • To encourage students to engage in all stages of the inquiry process
  • To support development of related literacy skills, in particular those associated with reading and writing.

Tips for success

  • Create a classroom environment that encourages students to ask their own questions and that provides opportunities for them to find answers to these questions.
  • Discuss how to identify and develop good questions.
  • While the Inquiry Journal lays out the process in a linear fashion for recording purposes, it is important that students understand that the Inquiry process is recursive – students may develop a plan, try it out and then go back to the plan to make changes based on what they discover. While the stages are laid out in a linear fashion for documenting, the process itself is not a linear one.

How do I use it?

SC3EF
Example of a Kindergarten student recording their thinking while investigating the melting of snow. Source: Let’s Talk Science
  • Before using this framework, introduce it to the students, explaining its purpose and how it can be a tool in their inquiries.
  • Encourage students to engage in all steps of the inquiry process.
  • Remind students that they can record their thinking in words and/or pictures and/or drawings/diagrams/sketches, data charts and graphs as appropriate. When needed, work with students to identify when such depictions are appropriate.
  • Encourage students to record questions and wonderings that arise as a result of their findings which can lead to further Inquiries.

Variations/Extensions

SCIENCE-JOURNAL_4
An interactive whiteboard example for students to record their thinking and process related to investigating an 'I Wonder' statement. Source: Let’s Talk Science
  • Educators may wish to have students create their own template for recording, once they have had some experience with the existing template.

Related Skills 

Related Topics