Inquiry Scaffold 

Modeled Inquiry 

 Teacher Centered

Teacher models


Teacher explains & models Sequence of Instruction

Structured Inquiry 


Students investigate teacher-presented essential questions through prescribed tasks

Teacher guides students, gradually giving more responsibility for completing the tasks

Guided Inquiry  

 Student/Teacher Centered

Students investigate a teacher presented essential questions using student designed/selected procedures

Teacher gives feedback as students engage in independent practice


 Student Centered

Students investigate
topic related questions that are student formulated through student designed/


Student directs their own research

 Overview of Scaffold 

We live in exciting and dangerous times! Now more than ever, young people have greater access to valid and factual information, as well as inaccurate statements and false pretense. As students and teachers use current search technologies, they seek educational content and understanding in an Internet sea of information. Through purposeful planning, teachers can scaffold instruction so that Internet queries result in rapid access to meaningful and timely information that is just a click away, not a lost journey through a vast wasteland of disconnected words and flashy images.

For ?nquiry in the Classroom™, the term structured inquiry takes on a dual meaning. First, it represents where we start with students, modeling research with teacher-presented questions and prescribed procedures (Herron, M.D.1971). And second, it answers parental concerns by providing student Internet activities that are directly supervised with teacher guidance. As students gain knowledge and research skills, their responsibilities, choice and independence increase within the school year and over the grade levels, and inquiry becomes less structured.

Teaching inquiry through scaffolding can be adapted in all subject areas and is widely supported in current professional literature:

"Teachers engaged in nonfiction inquiry explicitly teach the steps of the research process, model their use, and gradually release responsibility for learning." (Harvey, S. 1998)

"Explicit teaching involves four phases: the teacher explains and models a strategy; the teacher gradually gives students more responsibility for completing the task during guided practice; the students engage in independent practice accompanied by feedback; and the students apply the strategy in real reading situations. This kind of explicit instruction gives students the best shot at understanding and remembering what they learn." (Fielding and Pearson, 1994)

"The World Wide Web contains millions of uninterpreted sources of data, both quantitative and qualitative, that can be used in ways that allow learners to actively pursue answers to questions that are both interesting and relevant to their required classroom studies. Every subject area is interesting and full of inquiry-oriented questions." (Molebash, P. 2002) 


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