The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

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Daily Science Warm-ups for Inquiry-Based Learning


Teach your students to become critical thinkers and researchers with inquiry-based learning science lessons. Daily science warm-ups based on this model also activate students’ interest in a topic, which contributes to learning.

The benefits of inquiry-based learning

Inquiry-based learning is a wonderful addition to any classroom curriculum.

  • The teacher becomes a facilitator rather than a lecturer.
  • Inquiry-based learning is student centered. Students take on the roles of researcher, writer, and presenter.
  • Within this teaching model there are four stages: structured inquiry, controlled inquiry, guided inquiry, and free inquiry. Each stage scaffolds the question and research process to prepare students to complete a free inquiry independently.
  • All four stages work well together to support students’ basic knowledge and deepen their understanding.

Daily science workbook Creating inquiry-based science warm-ups with Daily Science

Structured inquiry is the first step in introducing inquiry-based learning to your classroom. Within this model, the teacher asks questions that students answer. This level allows the teacher to prep students to actively think about the topic introduced—and increases interest and attention.

Daily Science activities provide an easy way to incorporate structured inquiry in your science curriculum. The weekly units focus on a big question such as “Why can’t you breathe in outer space?” or “Is it safe to eat moldy food?” The daily activities are perfect for science warm-ups and use an inquiry-based model to help students answer the weekly question and understand concepts. Daily Science is based on national science standards and follows your science curriculum, building students’ content knowledge and vocabulary through the inquiry process.

  1. Display the weekly science question for students to see. Ex: “Why do leaves change color in the fall?”
  2. Ask students to brainstorm answers (whole class or with partners).
  3. Write or map the student answers on the board.
  4. Discuss and introduce the science warm-up activity for the day, including new vocabulary. Here’s a sample unit for daily warm-ups.
  5. Review the weekly question each day to introduce the related science warm-up activity.
  6. Use the content as a springboard for student projects and research in a controlled or guided inquiry. For example, students could research plant parts or plant adaptations.

Increasing your students’ curiosity increases their learning. Motivate your students this year with leading questions and research topics they care about.

Download this Daily Science sampler to see the inquiry-based lessons for grades 1–6.

For more information on the inquiry-based learning model, see What the Heck Is Inquiry-Based Learning?

Heather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.



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