October 2021 Newsletter - Inquiry-Based Learning - Excelled Montessori Plus

October 2021 Newsletter – Inquiry-Based Learning


Hello, this is Steve Whewell with excelled Montessori. This month’s topic: inquiry-based learning.

Have you ever been so interested in learning something that you completely lost track of time because of it? This happens to me all the time.  For example, when I first learned about Montessori education, I consumed everything I could about it because I had this desire to know all things, Montessori.  Why was that?  Nobody was telling me “You need to study Montessori!” But something was drawing me in.  I was intrinsically motivated to discover more…and that intrinsic motivation is what Inquiry-Based Learning is all about.  It’s about taking something children are already interested in and then using that as a tool to promote engagement, curiosity, and experimentation…which leads to what?…a meaningful, educational experience!

We asked our teachers recently to try this approach in their classrooms.  One of the teachers looked around and immediately knew what to do.  You see at the time, there were literally hundreds of rolie polies all over campus and the children were constantly looking for them.  So the teacher saw this as a perfect opportunity for an inquiry-based lesson.  She created a lesson plan outline and the class began studying rolie polies.  But not only did they start studying rolie polies, they also began making rolie polies out of clay, they did reports, posters.  They even made a racetrack using legos and had rolie polie races!  It was an incredible and joyful learning experience.  You could literally feel the excitement for learning when you walked into the room.

Inquiry-based learning is about being drawn into learning and “doing” something with it versus just hearing or reading about it.  Some studies suggest that we retain 5% of what we hear, 10% of what we read, but 75% of what we do. 

How would you like your children to learn?

Would you like to see them sit in a chair and receive instruction as a passive learner?

Or would you rather see them engage in a learning experience that cultivates curiosity and ignites imagination?

This has been the excellerator with Steve Whewell.


“Inquiry-based learning is more than asking a student what he or she wants to know. It’s about triggering curiosity. And activating a student’s curiosity is, I would argue, a far more important and complex goal than mere information delivery.”

Learn more about inquiry-based learning


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