In Spring 2014, 24 Computer Science teachers in Chicago and Washington, DC completed a questionnaire that, among other things, asked them to describe inquiry and equity in their classroom. All of the teachers were using Exploring Computer Science (ECS) instructional materials.

Here's what they said (unedited):

Some teachers described general strategies and their own interpretation of inquiry in the classroom.

Asking students to do something that you have never shown them how to do.

Increasing student engagement through pair share, small group and whole group activities and develop[ing] understanding through hands-on real life assignments.

Having students think about what they are doing and leading with questions and having them answer it.

Hands on student investigation of concepts

Letting students think and come up with answers to problems themselves rather than the teacher saying the answer.

Learning needs to be authentic and student driven not top down.

Students learn by doing, by researching, and by learning from each other.

Creating an environment where students come to conclusions or build knowledge on their own. I try to give all of them an opportunity to have that "Aha!" moment.

When you are teaching with Inquiry, and having the students come up with explanation and reasoning behind the question. Students are engaged and good discussions are lead on.

I believe inquiry starts by posing question(s) rather than simply presenting facts.

The power of an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning is its potential to increase intellectual engagement and foster deep understanding through the development of a hands-on, minds-on and research-based disposition.

Teaching with inquiry involves less of me, the teacher, giving direct answers to students’ questions. I make them understand from the beginning that it is part of their job to research and find answers without me. I certainly will provide direction and encouragement but rarely will just give the student an answer to their question.

I define teaching with inquiry as creating multiple opportunities for students to ask questions and dig deeper. I encourage students to explore many answers and to know that it is alright.

Other teachers shared specific examples of how they interact with students in their classroom.

I ask students questions, at lesser or greater levels of detail; through answering, or attempting to answer (individually, in groups, in class discussion) students get to and through the objectives and goals.

When introducing the objective, I ask students to identify what they will learn, how they will design, and why they learned the unit

I mostly have students define and design their thinking on a given topic in CS I want them to explore...

I try to create a teaching environment where all students are allowed to work from their own knowledge of computer science to keep them engaged and from there build on that knowledge to explore new concepts.

I let my students describe objects and events. They ask questions, explain and test explanations, and communicate ideas to their classmates and others. They use critical thinking to solve problems and increase their reasoning skills.

Students are guided toward discovering knowledge and meaning. The classroom is primarily student lead and lessons are 100% student centered. As teacher, my role is more of a guide or coach. I help to steer the conversation toward lesson outcomes as well as to help students find their voice. I also try to make sure that all students have the opportunity to contribute.

...when I am teaching I try to have students jot down their questions on a sticky note that gets placed on a large sheet of sticky paper also known as the "Parking Lot". Also using KWL charts is a great way to address inquiry and this is another way I can address inquiry in the classroom... Teaching with inquiry is imparting knowledge to students while allowing them to address their "thought bubbles" through journals, free-writes, think pair share activities and short questions and then allowing students to use these techniques to develop answers to their questions.

Which of these examples of teaching through inquiry do you agree with the most? What does an inquiry based approach look like in your classroom or school?