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Flipping with Inquiry

Aaron Sams
Founder, TurnAbout Learning
Managing Director, FlippedClass.com

September 2015


So you flipped your class. You've created or curated video content to replace in-class lectures, brought homework back into the classroom space, and now you’re ready to take the next step by facilitating inquiry-based learning as well. After all, as a science teacher, you’d probably like to use an inquiry-based approach. But are inquiry and the flipped class model compatible with one another?

Inquiry begins with a question or an investigation, followed by the process of concept development. Only after this process is complete does a student receive any direct instruction. The flipped learning cycle, on the other hand, begins with direct video instruction followed by practice and application.


Getting started

Because inquiry begins with questions and investigations rather than direct instruction, first consider how you could use the video component of the flipped classroom to kick-start the inquiry process.

  • You could start with a video that poses a question or presents a discrepant event to generate questions and interest. TED-Ed videos are great for this.
  • Alternatively, you could use an instructional video to supplement the inquiry process after the initial investigation has been completed.

Either way, the video component of the flipped classroom is a powerful companion to inquiry-based learning.

As educators, we want to inspire learning. These two approaches, the flipped classroom and inquiry, provide excellent learning opportunities as they support students in the concept development process.


Integrating flipped and inquiry

The key to effectively implementing any lesson, flipped or otherwise, is to use elements strategically and at appropriate times. As teachers, we must begin by asking two questions. First, what is the best use of face-to-face time in class? Second, knowing what the best use of class time is, how do you make it happen? When combined, the strengths of inquiry and the flipped classroom create a rich, effective, and efficient learning environment.


Sharing techniques in Carolina Tips®

Last academic year, we invited some of our outstanding colleagues to share flipped science lessons or labs. This year, we’re excited to take the flipped learning series a step further by inviting educators to share how they have married inquiry techniques with flipped learning techniques in their science classrooms.

Each forthcoming issue of Carolina Tips® will contain an inquiry-based lesson or lab with instructions on how to conduct the activity with flipped learning in mind. We hope you enjoy!

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