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English Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Learning task 1

Learning intention(s) We are learning to frame the inquiry.
KCs/Principles/Values focus Relate to others – explore a range of different perspectives; work collaboratively
Participate and contribute – choose authentic and meaningful contexts
Think – make connections; use graphic organiser as a thinking tool

To develop their information literacy skills students will complete an authentic inquiry which has some link to their course work. A possible way of creating strong links with course work is to link their inquiry topic to their work around the "Explain significant connection(s) across texts, using supporting evidence" standard. For example, students could be reading a variety of texts which share a thematic connection of "control".

  1. Ask students to brainstorm words/ phrases which link to the concept of control. This could include words/phrases such as "power", "laws", "government", "rules and regulations", "self control", "boundaries", "discipline".
  2. Use these words and phrases to guide students to areas around which they could frame an inquiry. For example:
  • The legal drinking age in New Zealand
  • Drug laws
  • How aspects of technology such as computer games or social networking may control people
  • The legal driving age in New Zealand.

It is important to ensure that the area that is chosen as the basis for inquiry must give scope to be considered from at least two different viewpoints. This will give students the opportunity to draw conclusions and/or offer some informed advice on the issue.

Before requiring students to choose their own inquiry topic, you will need to model key parts of the inquiry process to the class, using material such as that below. The modelling process will provide the opportunity for you to teach students some important information literacy skills as well as demonstrate to students how they can plan, record, and present the results of their inquiry.

An important aspect of framing the inquiry involves building background knowledge. The modelled inquiry will be framed around the ideas concerning computer games.

  1. Ask students to do a PMI on computer games. What are the good points about them? What are the bad points about them? What are some other interesting ideas about them?
  2. Discuss the idea of stakeholders. Ask students to make some predictions about the possible groups/stakeholders who may have opinions on computer games. Make a list of these stakeholders.
  3. Choose three or four clips to view or articles to read. As students view or read, ask them to add to their list of stakeholders.

Some other activities to build background knowledge could be:

  • Set up a  wiki for students to contribute to a discussion on a topic such as “Computer games benefit society”.
  • Hold an  Irish debate
  • A  cline : Ask students to decide where they stand on the statement: “Computer games are harmless”. Strongly agree/ agree/ disagree/ strongly disagree. Class members stand in a line in the classroom according to where they rank themselves about this statement. Each person needs to come up with at least two reasons to justify where they stand. Each person needs to use their justifications to persuade the person next to them to move further up/down the cline.
  • Discussion cardsjigsaw activity
    Students are given a discussion card. (for example, parent, gamer, doctor, researcher, teacher …) They form a group with others who have the same discussion card. The groups then discuss some arguments they could use to justify their case for or against the above statement. They then form themselves into groups where each member of the group has a different discussion card. Each group member now needs to argue their case within the group, using some of the ideas that were talked about with the previous group. This can then lead to full class discussion.

Published on: 04 Jan 2011