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How To Easily Differentiate the Inquiry Process For Your Students

Do you have students that struggle with the inquiry process? Are you looking for easy ways to differentiate inquiry for your students? Do you want to help students successfully complete their inquiry projects? If you answered yes to any of these questions, check out these differentiation ideas!


What is Inquiry?

Inquiry is asking questions and finding answers.

Why Teach the Inquiry Process?

If kids can ask questions and know how to discover answers, they'll be more successful in school.

And later in life.

Our Classrooms Today

Nowadays, our classrooms are filled with kids that have different learning needs. You may feel overwhelmed at the thought of teaching inquiry to all those different needs but teaching inquiry is nothing to get stressed about.

Differentiating inquiry CAN be easy!

Differentiation Built Into Inquiry Based Learning

Inquiry already has some differentiation build into the process because students have choice. Choice helps to differentiate projects for your students. They can:

  • decide on a topic based on their interests.
  • bring their unique background knowledge and experiences to their projects.
  • choose a question which is important to them.
  • determine how they will present their information.

Some Differentiation Suggestions

Non-Writers (students who are unable to write anything down)

  • dictate research into computer or have someone scribe for them.
  • provide project choices which do not require students to write (record a video, sing a song, etc.).

Beginning Writers (students who are able to construct a sentence)

  • Provide list of vocabulary with illustrations which students can reference as they write.
  • Provide graphic organizers and templates to support beginning writers.

Reluctant Writers (students with low writing output)

  • Use a computer, laptop, or tablet to record research.
  • Create a picture in mind, describe in words, and then write down ideas.

EAL Students (students with English as a second language)

  • Pre-teach vocabulary and provide background information related to inquiry topic and the inquiry process.
  • Pair students with a partner.

Students Who Struggle To Stay Focused

  • Encourage students to choose projects which involve movement or hands-on activities.
  • Use online or web resources (images and videos) to find information.

Perfectionists (students who want to be perfect)

  • Focus on finding information and answering questions and not on spelling and/or grammar until revising and editing projects at the end.
  • Teach perfectionists how to take jot notes and “mess up the page” by adding additional comments, diagrams, etc.

Speed Writers (students who just want to finish)

  • Focus on how to revise and edit work.
  • Encourage speed writers to slow down and present their research in a neat and ordered way.

Students Who Need To Be Challenged

  • Have students focus on the entire writing process (pre-writing, research, draft, revising and editing, final copy).
  • Provide research in paragraph form.

These questions are from the Inquiry Differentiation Chart. The Inquiry Differentiation Chart is found inside the Touch of Honey freebie library. The freebie library is available to all Writing Buzz subscribers. The Writing Buzz is a FREE weekly email sent to subscribers each Sunday and gives members freebies, writing ideas, special discounts, etc. CLICK HERE to join the Writing Buzz.

DIY or Ready-Made?

You can easily begin teaching inquiry to your students today. Simply brainstorm a list of inquiry questions and have students start researching to find the answers. Use the 5 Step Inquiry Method with your students to make this process even easier.

Want to save time?

Ready-to-use Inquiry projects are available on TeachersPayTeachers. Projects are available on animalsdinosaursfarm animals, insectsmagnetsweather, and MORE!

Each inquiry project includes:

  • 9 Sample Inquiry Questions and Blank Templates
  • Research Templates (with primary and regular lines)
  • Class Book Templates (with primary and regular lines)
  • Inquiry Is ... and I Wonder ... Posters
  • Steps to Writing An Inquiry Posters
  • Presentation Ideas Poster
  • Self, Peer, and Teacher Assessments (with happy faces and 4 point scale)
  • 2 Rubrics

Interested in a number of inquiry projects? All the above projects are a part of the Inquiry Based Learning Projects BUNDLE.

Happy writing!

Until next time,

P.S. Many teachers are overwhelmed with teaching writing to their students. Get started today with the Writing Teacher's Roadmap Get Started Guide. Teaching writing activities online? Grab your FREE Google Slides writing resources and start using with your Grade 1, 2, and 3 students.


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