high school physics guided inquiry lesson plans 

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Using Guided Inquiry

Teaching physics by guided inquiry is simple! It will give you more time to prepare labs and more time to help students. You will have more time to prepare other lessons and demonstrations. And none of this extra time will be at the expense of your students. In fact, your students will learn more effectively and become more successful.

Here's how it works...

I begin class each day by going over the assignment from the day before. Sometimes this takes a while, and sometimes not. It never takes more than 25 minutes.

Next, I introduce the topic for the day. I give them a few reasons why we are going to study the topic, but I say very little about the topic itself. Then, I pass out the ChemQuest worksheet for the day and the students get into their groups and work. I prefer groups of 3 or 4 students. Sometimes I allow them to choose their own groups and sometimes I assign them.

The PhysicsFix worksheet serves to introduce the topic and as they complete the PhysicsFix they construct meaning for many concepts. (See Sample Lessons for some samples of lessons that help students construct meaning.)

While they are working, I make my way around the room and help them with any difficult questions they have, being very careful to guide them instead of telling them the answers. As I do this I am also helping to keep them on task. Everything usually goes very smoothly, which frees me up. Instead of listening to me talk, all the students are working hard and straining their brains. I often sieze the opportunity to work on preparing a lab or researching a demonstration that I'd like to do, while keeping one eye on the students. I occassionally walk through the classroom to make sure all is well. Since I began teaching this way, I have some valuable minutes that I never had before.

Some other things happened since I started teaching this way. My students perform better on assignments and tests. They enjoy the class. Instead of seeing some students begin daydreaming I see them thinking. My job is more rewarding!

Many times the students are working until the bell rings. Any time they don't have their worksheets finished, they must finish them at home.

The next day, I debrief the worksheets. I know that the students did their work yesterday (because I was checking as I walked around the room), so I usually just check quickly to make sure they are finished with them. Because I watched them work on the PhysicsFix worksheets yesterday, I have a good idea of what was difficult for them and I can give them instant feedback. As I go over the PhysicsFix with the class, I spend extra time on their difficulties. I answer any questions they have and fill in any gaps that the worksheets didn't help them fill in for themselves.

After debriefing the PhysicsFix, I give them some practice problems ("Skill Practice" worksheets) to help them sharpen and develop what they began to learn the previous day. If the previous day's assignment was one of the easier assignments, I sometimes will skip the Skill Practice and move into the next PhysicsFix. The students again work together and anything not done by the end of the hour needs to be finished as homework. The next day, I will either go over the Skill Practice worksheet or collect it for a grade, then assign the next PhysicsFix and the process repeats itself. I have over 100 complete lessons ready at the beginning of the year. These lessons are now being made available to you!

Well, that's a brief overview. It's quite hard to explain it all in a few paragraphs. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or if we can help you in any way.

For a WHOLE YEAR of guided inquiry lesson plans: CLICK HERE.

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We know instinctively that the more engaged students are the more they will learn.

That's why we make them DRIVE during drivers' education classes.