Inquiry Design Model for Social Studies


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Overview and Purpose

How do I create my own interesting Inquiry Design Model (IDM) lesson plan for Social Studies?

You're currently a social studies teacher looking for a way for your students to learn the content in a very interesting way, but doing lecture, secondary source readings, and document analysis over and over is not working out the way you had planned. Students are not connecting to the content as you had imagined at the beginning of the school year and at this point it feels like you're just teaching rote memorization of historical facts...

The Inquiry Design Model (IDM) for Social studies is an innovative way to get students to connect to information certified by the National Council for the Social Studies. The IDM process follows the instructional design set by the College, Career and Civil Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies Standards. It is also an easy and compelling way to plan a unit that focuses students' learning on connecting with the content through a series of inquiry-based supporting questions to find a students' own construction of knowledge and answer an overall compelling question, such as "How do I create my own interesting Inquiry Design Model (IDM) lesson plan for Social Studies?"

IDM Mini-Course Curriculum Map (1).png

This mini-course is designed from the student's perspective of learning using the Inquiry Design Model. Not only are learners gaining knowledge of IDM lesson plans, but are also experiencing the learning process of an IDM itself. Each learning unit in this mini-course is designed around a supporting question and the resources are designed for the learner to acquire knowledge to answer that supporting question through a formative assessment task. At the end of the mini-course, the learner should be able to answer the "Compelling Question" that was asked at the beginning of this section.

Needs Assessment

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) introduced the College, Career and Civic Framework for Social Studies (C3 Framework), which shifted the focus of teaching social studies from rote memorization of facts to a cultivation of learning centered around inquiry-based instruction. The C3 Framework's shift created a need for social studies educators to change their instructional design to student-centered activities focused on developing skills rather than memorization of content. Several states, including the New York State Department of Education, adopted the C3 Framework and added inquiry-based instruction to the teacher's toolkit. Many teachers have not mastered inquiry-based instruction, but the introduction of the Inquiry Design Model made this change more palpable for social studies educators.

Ready-made IDM lesson plans are available, but many topics and units throughout social studies remain undeveloped. For example, few options exist for social studies teachers in Global/World history classrooms. The necessity for mastering IDM lesson plans becomes even greater for teachers with little ready-made IDMs available.

Performance Objectives

By the end of this mini-course, learners will be able to:

  • Identify resources and blueprints (templates) for the Inquiry Design Model
  • Analyze and Evaluate the parts of an Inquiry Design Model lesson plan
  • Create an Inquiry Design Model lesson plan of their own

Course Units

This mini-course includes the following units. Each unit is centered around a supporting question that will help scaffold your knowledge of the Inquiry Design Model (IDM) process. As stated in the Overview and Purpose section, the mini-course is designed in a way that follows the Inquiry Design Model from a students' perspective.

Supporting Question 1: What is an Inquiry Design Model Plan?

In this unit, learners will be able to answer the supporting question: What is an Inquiry Design Model Plan? Learners will watch a video on EdPuzzle breaking down the elements of an Inquiry Design Model Plan while answering formative assessment questions scattered throughout the video with feedback for right and wrong answers. The video will also inform the learners of the location of some ready-made Inquiry Design Model lesson plans freely available for their own implementation and adaptation.

Supporting Question 2: What are good compelling questions and supporting questions to use in an IDM?

Following the brief overview in Unit 1, learners will begin the process of developing their own Inquiry Design Model starting with the most crucial elements: the compelling question and supporting questions. Learners will read a section of Grant, Lee and Swan's Inquiry Design Model: Building Inquiries in Social Studies and begin brainstorming topics for inquiry. Learners will be taught best practices for creating compelling questions and supporting questions and put that knowledge into practice.

Supporting Question 3: What are formative performance tasks and featured sources in an IDM?

After learners have created their compelling question and supporting questions, they will begin the process of choosing good formative performance tasks and integrating featured sources. Learners will discover how the IDM process should scaffold into the summative performance task.

Supporting Question 4: What are summative performance tasks in an IDM?

With 90 percent of the IDM completed with Supporting Questions 1-3, learners will now create a summative performance task. This is the "final project" of the IDM and brings together all knowledge that learners have gathered throughout the inquiry process. This is often an argumentative piece that gives the student different end-products to show off their knowledge, skills, and argumentation required in most state Social Studies Standards today.

Summative Performance Task

Construct an Inquiry Design Model lesson plan using the template provided. Utilize the products from each of the formative performance tasks (answering the supporting questions) to fill in the IDM chart/lesson plan.