Inquiry: A Student-Centered Learning Process

The inquiry process engages students’ drive to discover, their need to question, and their ability to create solutions that transform the world around them.

Inquiry starts with a compelling question...

Moves through a

rigorous investigation…

And culminates in an

argument or action.

These questions are complex and meaningful. They spark curiosity and drive student learning.

Inquiry isn't about filling in blanks on a worksheet.  It requires research and critical thinking.

Students use their learning to take action and create solutions that affect the world. 

One Process. Many Practices.

The Inquiry Process is at the root of all deeper learning practices, driving students to question, explore, and create.

When curriculum and instruction is rooted in authentic inquiry, it supports a wide range of student-centered practices. 


Not all curriculum and instructional practice that claim to be student-centered are the same. So, we’ve created a research-based model for the practice of Authentic Inquiry.

Intentionally-Designed Curriculum

  • Contains rigorous standards-based content.

  • Incorporates authentic context and student interests.

  • Promotes sustained investigation that culminates in action.

  • Elevates student work by ensuring a public platform for presentation.

  • Encourages lifelong learning by building teacher knowledge along with students.

Student-Centered Instruction

  • Facilitates independent learning by providing guidance and scaffolding.

  • Honors student voice and choice.

  • Fosters a culture of equity and collaboration.

  • Differentiates learning and assessment.

  • Promotes a growth mindset by facilitating meaningful self and peer reflection.





The practice of inquiry has more impact on student performance than any other variable, including student background and prior achievement.

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How do you practice Inquiry?

inquirED's curriculum contains embedded professional learning supports that help teachers implement inquiry.