Canyon Inquiry Project » GCU Canyon Inquiry Project

GCU Canyon Inquiry Project

More Information about the Grand Canyon University Canyon Inquiry Project
Mrs. Webster and Ms. Furman are including inquiry based learning in the Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 classroom during the 2017 - 2018 school year.  During the Fall 2017 semester, students were led through activities and investigations utilizing the beginning stages of inquiry - Structured Inquiry and Controlled Inquiry.

MarbleSlides, an activity that requires students to manipulate different types of equations to create 'slides' that marbles can roll down, was one of the first activities used.  Similar activities were used in both Algebra 1 classes (linear functions) and Algebra 2 classes (quadratic functions).  
Algebra 2 students worked in collaborative pairs, and their tasks started off with relative simple solutions - while they all had slightly different solutions, most moved through the first few tasks quickly.  The snapshots show an overlay of the different solutions that each pair arrived at.
Students received instant feedback from their work as they 'launched' each set of marbles.
As the tasks went on, they became more challenging, and students needed to use multiple parabolas and multiple transformations to successfully reach all stars.  
Algebra 1 also completed MarbleSlides for linear functions, and many pairs were engaged both during class and after class - several continued their work at home because they wanted to finish ALL of the challenges!  The level of academic vocabulary used by every student was amazing throughout this inquiry based lesson.  Students were engaged, conversations were on-task and meaningful, and there was quite a bit of productive struggle - students needed to find their way to persevere through the challenges that were presented to them.  Students knew the goal ('capture' all of the stars), but they needed to use the resources available to them to determine the best way to adjust their lines and parabolas to accomplish their task.
Inquiry work will continue in Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 during the Spring 2018 semester and we will also introduce other teachers to inquiry based learning across the content areas.  Stay tuned for more information!