For my second session with the students at Lincoln Heights, we continued on through the exploration phase of the Inquiry Cycle. We had spent quite a bit of time on the Virtual Library looking at the various resources available. So, for this lesson we focused on selecting a research topic and developing those important questions to guide their research. Most of them had an idea of what their topic was going to be but they had not really spent any time developing any questions, i.e., what was it that they actually wanted to know about their topic.
Using the graphic organizer from our LLC, we looked at lower and higher order thinking questions. I think it was important for the students to not only be able to distinguish between the two but also when to use each type of question. For example, lower order thinking questions are important in the exploring phase when we are trying to get an overview about our topic. Of course, once we have answered those questions, we need to look at our topic in more depth by asking those higher-order thinking skills that help us analyze and synthesize information. Developing those important questions are also crucial in helping define the topic as well. Very often students think they know what they are researching but once they try to start answering those questions, they often find their topic too narrow or too broad or sometime, not even the right topic after all.
The lesson went really well and I left the kids with some homework. The needed to have their topics and questions ready for me when I came back, so we could start doing some investigating.