You are here

Concept-Based Inquiry in Action

Concept-Based Inquiry in Action
Strategies to Promote Transferable Understanding

First Edition

June 2018 | 368 pages | Corwin

"This is exactly what my school needs right now to support colleagues to build on the foundations of our written concept-based curriculum and to take-off our taught curriculum to the next - and highest - levels."
Neville Kirton, Deputy Head of Secondary
Colegio Anglo Colombiano, Bogota, Colombia

"Filled with strategies, illustrations, diagrams, and pictures, this book really gives you the insight you need to help students better understand what they are learning. So many great ideas that can be used in any classroom. A must read for all educators."
Amanda McKee, 9th, Algebra/Geometry, Secondary Certified Instructor/Mentor
Johnsonville High School, Johnsonville, SC

Create a thinking classroom that helps students move from the factual to the conceptual

All students deserve the opportunity to think conceptually. But seeing conceptual relationships does not come naturally to every student. How can teachers construct thinking classrooms where students can move from the factual to the conceptual level of thinking?

Concept-Based Inquiry in Action has the answers. In this book, the authors marry theory with practice to create a new framework for inquiry that promotes deep understanding: Concept-Based Inquiry. The key is helping students to inquire into concepts and the relationships between them using guiding questions developed by the teacher, the students themselves, or by the teacher and students together. Step by step, the authors lead both new and experienced educators to implement teaching strategies that support the realization of inquiry-based learning for understanding in any K–12 classroom.

The book and its accompanying website are rich with the resources necessary to facilitate the construction and transfer of conceptual understanding, including

  • Numerous practical teaching strategies, aligned to each phase of Concept-Based Inquiry, that can be modified for diverse populations
  • Visual notes that represent significant ideas discussed within each chapter
  • Videos of instructional strategies and teacher interviews that show Concept-Based Inquiry in action in K–12 classrooms around the world
  • Templates of graphic organizers, sample anchor charts, and blackline masters that support the use of teaching strategies in the classroom
  • Planners that show how the phases of Concept-Based Inquiry come together in a unit

In a world filled with complexity, the role of the teacher as a facilitator of conceptual understanding has never been more pressing. Concept-Based Inquiry in Action provides teachers with the tools necessary to organize and focus student learning around concepts and conceptual relationships that support deep understanding.

Foreword by H. Lynn Erickson and Lois A. Lanning
About the Authors
About the Illustrator
Chapter 1: The Foundations of Concept-Based Inquiry
Bringing Together Inquiry-Based and Concept-Based Learning

Part 1: Exploring Inquiry-Based Learning
Inquiry Approaches in Concept-Based Inquiry

Part 2: Exploring Concept-Based Learning
Concepts as Organizers

The Structures of Knowledge and Process

Disciplines Draw From Knowledge and Process

Pause and Reflect

Chapter 2: Concept-Based Inquiry
A Model of Concept-Based Inquiry

The Phases of Concept-Based Inquiry

The Complexity of Inquiry

Concept-Based Inquiry and the Inductive Approach

Creating a Culture of Concept-Based Inquiry

Pause and Reflect

Chapter 3: Planning for Concept-Based Inquiry
What Planning Steps Support Concept-Based Inquiry?

How Can Teachers Enhance Their Understanding of a Unit?

What Role Do Guiding Questions Play in Concept-Based Inquiry?

What Do the Phases of Concept-Based Inquiry Look Like in a Unit?

Pacing in Concept-Based Inquiry

How Do the Phases of Inquiry Support Teacher Planning for Concept-Based Inquiry?

What Are Approaches for Making Interdisciplinary Links?

Connecting to the Phases of Inquiry

Pause and Reflect

Chapter 4: Engage
Activating Prior Knowledge Using Engagement Strategies

Using Strategies to Motivate Students

Initial Questions, Initial Thinking

Rethinking Our Use of Engagement Strategies

Opinion-Based Strategies

Experiential Strategies

Discussion-Based Strategies

Assessment in the Engage Phase

Connecting Phases of Inquiry

Pause and Reflect

Chapter 5: Focus
Using Concept Formation Strategies to Focus an Inquiry

Concepts Provide Breadth and Depth

Levels of Conceptual Thinking

Effective Concept Formation Practices

Concept Formation Strategies: Deductive and Inductive Approaches

Choosing Concept Formation Strategies

Assessment in the Focus Phase

Connecting Phases of Inquiry

Pause and Reflect

Chapter 6: Investigate
The Power of Factual Examples

Case Study Approaches

Focus on Skill Development

A Preface to Strategies

Assessment in the Investigate Phase

Connecting Phases of Inquiry

Pause and Reflect

Chapter 7: Organize
Making Meaning Using Organizers

Cognitive Load Theory and the Importance of Organizing

Representation and Conceptual Understanding

Sharing Findings as a Community of Inquirers

A Preface to Strategies

Assessment in the Organize Phase

Connecting Phases of Inquiry

Pause and Reflect

Chapter 8: Generalize
An Inductive Approach to Generalizing

Developing Strong Generalizations

Scaffolding Thinking

The Value of Recording Generalizations

The Importance of Discussion

A Preface to Strategies

Assessment in the Generalize Phase

Connecting Phases of Inquiry

Pause and Reflect

Chapter 9: Transfer
Transfer That Deepens Understanding

Testing and Justifying Generalizations

Understanding New Events and Situations

Predicting and Hypothesizing

Applying Learning

Taking Action

Assessment in the Transfer Phase

Connecting Phases of Inquiry

Pause and Reflect

Chapter 10: Reflect
The Power of Reflection

The Reflective Cycle

Building Agency

Reflection Throughout the Inquiry

Assessing Reflection Throughout the Inquiry

Connecting Phases of Inquiry

Pause and Reflect

Chapter 11: Concluding Thoughts
A Vision for Thinking Classrooms

Understand and Adapt

Resource A. Concept-Based Inquiry Glossary of Terms

Resource B. Concept-Based Inquiry Planner

Resource C. Sample Concept-Based Inquiry Planner: Industrialization Unit


This text will be adopted for summer 2020.

Dr Jamalee Stone
College Of Education, Black Hills State University
October 16, 2018
Key features
 The book will feature:
  • A new framework for inquiry that leads to deeper understanding: Concept-Based Inquiry
  • Blackline masters/templates of graphic organizers and student rubrics, supporting use of teaching strategies in the classroom.
  • Videos of instructional strategies and teacher interviews, showing Concept-Based Inquiry in action. With footage across multiple continents and from different school settings, our video component demonstrates various ways that concept-based practices have been adapted to meet the unique needs of the classroom.

Purchasing options

Volume Discounts Available

contact corwin

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781506391298
CAD$ 45.95  CAD$ 34.95*
*Includes a 20% everyday educator discount!

For instructors

Please select a format: