Triangulating Triangles

Inquiry-led learning is the richest instruction.

I’m very excited to share this account of a “structured word inquiry episode” by Grade 2 teachers Neha Pall and Hope Krause from the Nueva School near San Francisco.

Download their document from this link!

(Screenshot of fist page below.)


Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 8.32.37 PM




We have so much to learn by following the scientific inquiry they took on with their students when the words <triangle> and <triangulate> arose in the context of their math class. 

Learn along Hope, Neha and their students as they make sense of the crucial difference between the orthographic concepts and terms “base” and “root”. See how these teachers deepen their understanding of how our writing system works simply by following the evidence revealed by word sum analysis, etymological references, and their students’ questions. 

The fact that Neha and Hope have offered to share their account of this work right now is fortuitous timing. It provides a perfect follow-up to the themes of my last two WordWorks Newsletters (#72 and #73). Those Newsletters emphasized the basic principle that inquiry can only be considered scientific inquiry if it includes a means to falsify hypotheses that turn out to be false. Thus the title of the first of these two Newsletters, “The Joy of Being Wrong  -- And being able to prove it!”. 

You will see from their account that Neha and Hope prove themselves to be true scientists who are delighted to have their assumptions proven false by the light of clear evidence. Their story also offers a means of clarifying what I mean by the difference between “teacher-led inquiry” and “inquiry-led teaching”. Before long I will add some more thoughts on that subject and why I believe this sort of inquiry-led learning with students offers the richest type of instruction we can offer our students in the comments. I hope others share thoughts that this investigation sparks for you in the comments as well.

But enough introduction -- now go ahead and enjoy the lovely path of learning Hope, Neha and their students have left behind for us.