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Paper: An Inquiry “Warm-Up” Activity: Preparing Students for an Active Classroom Community
Volume: 436, Learning from Inquiry In Practice
Page: 316
Authors: Seagroves, S.
Abstract: An active learning community that engages in inquiry activities will employ strategies and structures that students from traditional classrooms may find unfamiliar or uncomfortable. These include group work, voicing questions, shifting from one part of an activity to another (and sometimes shifting groups at the same time), presenting informally to the group, and many others. In addition, the role of the instructor as facilitator rather than teacher may not be familiar to students. As inquiry activities become incorporated into the regular classroom curriculum at Maui Community College (through collaboration with the Professional Development Program as part of the Akamai Workforce Initiative), a need emerged to give students a “warm-up” early in the semester to help them practice these participation structures. This activity was designed to be used on the very first day of class, to be easy and accessible to students, and to give them practice with these features of inquiry activities that they would see again throughout the semester. In addition, the activity introduces the engineering technology concepts of requirements, trade-offs, and limitations. It is important to note that this activity is not in and of itself an inquiry activity; in fact the content and processes featured in the activity are not particularly challenging nor are they the main focus. Instead, this is a “warm-up” for inquiry, so that students gain some comfort with the unconventional features of inquiry activities. The particular activity presented is for 20–30 students in a ∼90 minute lab period, and highlights different imaging technologies of cameras; however, it is easily adaptable to other requirements, to different technology, or other needs.
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