An inquirED Blog

Inquiry-Based Elementary Social Studies and the C3 Framework

Updated: Feb 12, 2019

C3 organizes its framework into four dimensions - each focusing on a different set of skills that prepare students for college, career, and civic life. Since Inquiry Journeys, inquirED’s elementary social studies curriculum, was not adapted for - but natively designed from C3, each of our Units build students' skills and content knowledge across all four dimensions. Read below to see how Inquiry Journeys turns C3's call for inquiry into action.


C3 Dimension 1: Developing Questions and Planning Inquiries

  • At the beginning of every Essential Question in inquirED's curriculum, students participate in the Question Formulation Technique (QFT). The QFT prompts students to generate an exhaustive list of investigation questions.

  • As they work with the QFT, students sort, prioritize, and craft questions into their most personally-meaningful forms.

  • As a result of the QFT process, students feel ownership of the questions they have crafted and are invested in the outcome of the Unit.

C3 Dimension 2: Applying Disciplinary Tools and Concepts

  • Teachers use inquirED’s Inquiry Builder™ to assemble year-long curriculum that explores the four disciplines of Civics, Economics, Geography, and History.

  • For example, during the State and Local Viewpoints curriculum, students have the opportunity to build their own small businesses, investigate the history of Native Americans in their local area, and explore the ways that geography shapes commerce in the different regions of the United States.

C3 Dimension 3: Evaluating Sources and Using Evidence

  • InquirED’s Units present a rich array of primary and secondary sources for students to evaluate and interpret.

  • For example, during a 5th-grade Unit, students compare and contrast first and final drafts of the Preamble to the US Constitution, and then hold a Socratic Seminar that uses the text of the Bill of Rights as its subject.

C3 Dimension 4: Communicating Conclusions and Taking Informed Action

  • All of inquirED’s Units end with informed action - with over 30 projects to choose from, each with a public presentation in which students communicate their conclusions.

  • inquirED provides detailed lesson plans that enable teachers and students to translate essential content knowledge and discipline specific skills into informed action.