Embracing new ways of working, learning and collaborating is a key starting point on your students’ STEAM journeys!
Some teachers even find that certain students become the superstars of their STEAM classes, because their skillsets resonate more with STEAM approaches than traditional learning methods.
One approach that works particularly well for STEAM and coding is inquiry-based learning. If you’ve not heard of it before, the key is in the title – it’s all about questions and ideas!
Not to be confused with open-ended learning, Edutopia defines inquiry-based learning as “A student-centered approach where the instructor guides the students through questions posed, methods designed, and data interpreted by the students. Through inquiry, students actively discover information to support their investigations”.
It works well in STEAM and coding because it mimics real-life investigation, building skills such as evidence-based reasoning and creative problem-solving.
Ready to plan an inquiry-based lesson on your own? Download our editable planning sheet FREE!
Here are five benefits of inquiry-based learning in STEAM and coding…
1.Students take ownership of their learning
When students explore, ask questions and share their unique ideas in the classroom, they take ownership of their learning!
Inquiry-based learning puts students in the driving seat. Encouraging this responsibility sets an expectation of the learner’s role – be it in their education moving forwards, in STEM and coding careers, and general personal development as they grow older.
STEAM and coding is all about creation and problem-solving, and students are more likely to experience success in a project they have embraced and take responsibility for.
2. It breeds curiosity – a powerful learning tool
In inquiry-based learning, the student is in search of information to answer their question or confirm their theory. Their discovery really is based on what data or trends within the assignment that have sparked their curiosity.
Once a learner starts picking at the thread of something, it unravels so many other questions and cool discoveries! This is where they learn to navigate a project and decide their focus to reach their end goal. Curiosity and ‘tinkering’ bring STEAM learning to life!
3. Students are engaged because their learning is personal
As an educator, you’ll know that students learn most effectively when they’re engaged.
Inquiry-based learning is in the here and now, flexible and focused on the learner’s thought process and questions. It works particularly well in STEAM lessons – with equipment or materials to hold, take apart, and investigate! The potential for learning is huge.
This sense of wonder is really where the learning takes place, as the most memorable learning experiences are fun!
4. It builds vital skills for any career
Research, analytical, problem-solving and reasoning are just a handful of the skills that inquiry-based learning helps to develop. As students are encouraged to think for themselves, actively discovering information to reach a conclusion, they’re building on essential skills that are relevant across the entire curriculum.
Experiencing inquiry-based learning from a young age equips students with vital skills for not just STEM careers, but many other professions and everyday life!
5. Students have the autonomy to create
As Albert Einstein said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun”.
Creating encourages trial and error and problem-solving in a fun and free way. It’s also a huge part of STEAM and coding learning and careers – from useful product designs to computer games and even world-changing scientific breakthroughs!
Inquiry-based learning breeds creativity as it’s centered around the student’s perspective and how they wish to grow their work. Students have autonomy to take their projects in various directions, often with unexpected results and learnings!
Are there any other benefits of inquiry-based learning you’d like to see added? Tell us by tagging us on Twitter @SAMLabs! We’d love to hear how you’re embracing inquiry-based learning in STEAM and coding!
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Rosie is a writer and storyteller with a passion for tech and learning, with nearly a decade’s experience writing for small tech startups and large brands alike. In her free time she enjoys walks with her pet greyhound Boris, singing in a jazz quartet and making new music.