GK-12: Inquiry and Innovative Thinking by Design
University of Arkansas
Our GK-12 KIDS training program begins with an innovative 4-week summer workshop that is a key element of our work. Preparing the Fellows to convey to teachers a blend of content knowledge and building the skills to develop a classroom culture for inquiry learning has required careful design and redesign of the training program. A description of the workshop by week follows: One - Fellows learn about inquiry-based science-teaching methods in a classroom format. They focus on the different levels of inquiry and hands-on lessons that make each level clear while they strengthen their knowledge in their discipline. Two - Middle School Teachers join the Fellows in a two-day summer camp to bond as a cohort group while they work on inquiry-based lessons and develop their ability to communicate ideas. Three - The focus is on content and creative development of new inquiry-based activities. Teacher-Fellow teams dissect a proposed inquiry activity, discuss the objective, investigate how to implement it in the classroom, and examine how and if it accomplished the goal. During this week Fellows develop their logic skills as they structure a lesson plan. Four - A KIDS camp provides a simulated classroom environment for Teacher-Fellow teams. Together, they implement a lesson and learn how to accept constructive criticism during round table discussions.