Eltham Primary School employs a genuine Inquiry-based Learning program that places the student at the centre of an active process of Inquiry. Within the parameters of the curriculum, students are encouraged to explore STEM topics, using technology to produce designed solutions. Students also explore Civics and Citizenship, History, and Geography, with these topics further ingrained into the curriculum by using inter-disciplinary links within the core subjects of Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.
Initial classroom discussions are structured by ‘exploratory talk’ where students are prepared to accept challenges, justify assertions and share and respect diverse perspectives and experiences. Teachers forge deeper and more reflective thinking by asking open-ended questions, prompting students to consider the depth of their question. With an emphasis on ‘how they know’, rather than ‘what they know’, students actively construct their knowledge through creating and researching their focused questions. They create design briefs and use project-based learning and experimentation to find answers.
With a departure from traditional ‘content-driven’ approaches, students are provided with skills and resources to engender greater exploration and investigation into their question of choice. Curiosity is nurtured as classes create Inquiry walls in their classroom to display their findings, observations, comments, photos, experiments, and epiphanies.
Students plan and execute their research with the view of using their findings in real and practical ways in their external world. They find inspiration and connection to their learning when its applicability becomes visible.