Learning isn’t passive in new Canyon Inquiry Project

September 21, 2017 / by / 0 Comment

By Lana Sweeten-Shults
GCU News Bureau

Here’s an inquiry for you: What exactly is “inquiry-based learning”?

Cryptic buzzword terminology aside, it’s a style of teaching that eschews teachers and students simply spitting out the facts. It’s a mode of teaching that, instead, tweaks students’ brains by getting them to be more active participants in their education rather than passive receptacles of knowledge.

Rather than just memorization, for example, students tackle a question, quandary or situation – they often come up with the scenario themselves – by investigating and, ultimately, solving such questions, usually through small-scale projects.

Grand Canyon University is getting ready to go all in on inquiry-based learning with its GCU Canyon Inquiry Project, which will involve 10 high school teams delving into this particular type of pedagogy.

The schools chosen to participate are Bourgade Catholic, Buckeye High School, Heritage Academy Queen Creek, Combs High, East Valley Academy, Skyline High, Pinnacle High, Paradise Honors High, University High School and North Valley Christian.

The teams will consist of two teachers and one administrator.

“We chose 10 schools – 10 teacher-administrator teams – from Arizona. They’ll be attending five events on the GCU campus throughout the school year, and all pertain to inquiry-based learning,” said Cole Bucholc, Marketing and Communications Specialist with GCU’s Strategic Educational Alliances.

Teachers will receive $1,000 completion awards for completing the project, along with $175 school grants for classroom projects. Also, $10,000 in student scholarships may be awarded to eligible high school juniors and seniors for exemplary student projects.

The coach for the Canyon Inquiry Project will be Trevor Mackenzie, author of “Dive Into Inquiry.”

The first workshop for the project is scheduled for Sept. 29,  followed by sessions on Oct. 27, Dec. 1 and Feb. 28. The culminating event will be a showcase recognition and awards ceremony May 8.

Contact Lana Sweeten-Shults at (602) 639-7901 or [email protected].

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