Engaging with Inquiry Approaches

Inquiry Resources

By Judy Ameline & Judy Chyung

We hope you enjoy and are stimulated by these selected annotated resources on Engaging with Inquiry Approaches, curated by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Professional Library in the Library Learning Resources and Global Education Department of the Toronto District School Board.

Links to TDSB Professional Library Catalogue records have been provided for some items (so you can see the summaries, MARC Records, etc.) items are accessible only to TDSB staff, or available for purchase where noted.

Focus On Inquiry

Alberta Learning. Learning and Teaching Resources Branch. (2004). Focus on inquiry: A teacher’s guide to implementing inquiry-based learning.

This document, released by Alberta Learning, provides supports for implementing inquiry-based learning activities in the classroom. It provides an instructional model that can be used by all teachers in Alberta, kindergarten to grade 12, in guiding inquiry with students.

Why Are School Buses Always Yellow

Barell, J. (2016). Why are school buses always yellow?: Teaching for inquiry, K-8. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

This book shows how children’s natural curiosities and playful wonderings can be turned into deep questions about content that flows into inquiry based teaching. It provides simple and systematic ways to develop inquiry based units that incorporate students’ queries. Real K-8 classroom examples, use of technology in the classroom, and inquiry with special needs students are included in this updated edition.

The Points o fInquiry

British Columbia Teacher-Librarians’ Association. (2011). The points of inquiry: A framework for information literacy and the 21st century learner.

Developed for BC students and teachers, the BCTLA inquiry-based approach, The Points of Inquiryshows five phases in an inquiry process: connect and wonder, investigate, construct, express and reflect. It’s a model that is designed to work for reading as well as research.

Inspiring Curiosity

Cassinelli, C. (2018). Inspiring curiosity: A librarian’s guide to inquiry-based learning. Portland: International Society for Technology in Education.

A practical guide written by a librarian for secondary school librarians as they collaborate with teachers and students to develop inquiry-based research projects. Found in the book are inspiring stories and practical examples of how school librarians can guide teachers and students through the research process.

Critical Thinking Consortium

Critical Thinking Consortium

The Critical Thinking Consortium (TC²) provides professional consultation and resources to embed critical thinking as an approach to teaching the curriculum to make it accessible to teachers and make learning more engaging and enriching for students.

The Curious Classroom

Daniels, H. (2017). The curious classroom: 10 structures for teaching with student-directed inquiry. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

This book gives 10 easy strategies for K-8 teachers to incorporate inquiry into the curriculum. The author shares 10 structures, 34 inspiring models from teachers, full-color photographs and examples of student work, plus specific suggestions for assessment and grading.

Make Room for Engaging

EduGains. (2015). Make room for engaging in inquiry learning. Alert – Adolescent Literacy

This is a short paper from Edugains that offers research-based strategies for using inquiry-based instruction to support the development of literacy skills in purposeful and authentic ways.

Focus On Inquiry Galileo

Friesen, S. (2015). Focus on inquiry. Calgary: Galileo Educational Network.

This resource for teachers, Focus on Inquiry, was created to provide support for educators in designing intellectually engaging learning environments for today’s students. This site contains a broad research base along with current video examples of effective teaching practices with voices of educators and students.

Building Info Smarts

Koechlin, C., & Zwaan, S. (2008). Building info smarts: how to work with all kinds of information and make it your own. Markham, ON: Pembroke Publishers.

This short, easy-reading flip book shows students how to identify their learning style as they build important information literacy skills. The book provides strategies for learning, using information, with a step-by-step process approach.

Des Questions Pour Apprendre

Koechlin, C., & Zwann, S. (2010). Des questions pour apprendre: enseigner aux élèves à se poser des questions et à utiliser adéquatement les réponses. Montréal: Chenelière-éducation. French version of the 2006 edition of Q tasks

This step-by-step approach to critical thinking offers more than 80 flexible classroom activities to help students ask real questions that focus on understanding and give them ownership over their own learning.


Koechlin, C., & Zwaan, S. (2014). Q tasks: how to empower students to ask questions and care about answers. Markham, ON: Pembroke.

This revised edition continues to show teachers how to give students the tools they need to develop their own questions and build critical thinking and inquiry skills. This new edition also offers Q-task extensions that introduce digital components that facilitate collaboration and are designed to appeal to tech-savvy students.

Inquiry Mindset

MacKenzie, T. (2018). Inquiry mindset: Nurturing the dreams, wonders & curiosities of our youngest learners. Irvine, CA: EdTechTeam Press.

This book asks teachers to use real world problems or challenges to harness the curiosities, interests and passions of young learners to engage them in authentic learning through inquiry. The author encourages cultivating an inquiry mindset both as teachers and in their students.

Dive Into Inquiry

MacKenzie, T. (2016). Dive into inquiry: Amplify learning and empower student voice. Irvine, CA: EdTechTeam Press.

This book provides a structure that prepares learners for the transition from traditional teaching models to the inquiry classroom. It promotes a gradual release of learning from the teacher to the student, to get to the place where student agency in inquiry is at its highest and where students take ownership of their learning like never before.

Guided Inquiry

Maniotes, L. K. (2018). Guided inquiry design in action. Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited. Elementary school High school.

These books provide age-appropriate Guided Inquiry Design® lesson plans for different curriculum areas enabling deep learning and fostering students’ creative thinking and problem-solving – essential skills in a 21st century world.

Concept-Based Inquiry In Action

Marschall, C., & French, R. (2018). Concept-based inquiry in action: Strategies to promote transferable understanding. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

This book provides teachers with the tools necessary to organize and focus on student learning around concepts and conceptual relationships that support deep understanding.

Experience Inquiry

Mitchell, K. L. (2019). Experience inquiry: 5 powerful strategies, 50 practical experiences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

A user-friendly handbook that helps teachers to learn what inquiry-based instruction looks like in practice through five key strategies. This resource offers practical examples of what inquiry looks like in the classroom.

Framing Critical

Nicolson, C. (2017). Framing critical inquiry questions and tasks. Vancouver: The Critical Thinking Consortium.

This resource offers practical examples and templates to support student inquiry and promote critical, creative and collaborative thinking.

Inquiry Poster

Ontario Library Association: OSLA Inquiry poster Available in French

A poster outlining the roles of students, teachers and teacher-librarians in the student inquiry process, grades 1-8.

Inquiry Based Learning

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2013). Inquiry-based learning. Capacity Building Series # 32.

This entry in the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Capacity Building Series outlines the essential elements of inquiry-based learning designed to encourage students to question, create, collaborate, and innovate so that they may become lifelong learners and function effectively in the 21st century.

Processus Recherche

Quebec Ministry of Education. The Inquiry Process / Le Processus de Recherche.

The Quebec Ministry of Education provides a model for implementing the inquiry process.

SSLA Inquiry

Saskatchewan School Library Association. Inquiry.

Saskatchewan School Library Association’s inquiry webpage. Includes links to a TEDx ED talk, YouTube videos, and other helpful resources to implement inquiry-based learning in the classroom.

Imagine The Learning

Toronto District School Board. (2018). Imagine the learning! @ your library: Getting started with inquiry and research. Toronto: TDSB. Available for purchase www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us/Innovation/Curriculum-Resources

Based on the Ontario School Library Association’s four-phase Model for Inquiry, this is a practical guide designed to support those students and teachers with less experience in inquiry-based learning. It provides mini-lessons, planning and assessment tools along with student activity pages.

Implementing Student Inquiry

Toronto District School Board. (2017). Implementing student inquiry, K-12: A quick reference guide. Toronto: TDSB. Available for purchase www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us/Innovation/Curriculum-Resources

This document is a K–12 reference guide to support the implementation of student inquiry that speaks to all those who support instruction in schools: teachers, teacher-librarians, grade/subject and professional learning teams and administrators.

Research Success

Toronto District School Board. (2017). Research success @ your library: A guide to inquiry and research for intermediate and secondary students. Toronto: TDSB. Available for purchase www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us/Innovation/Curriculum-Resources

An updated guide to the inquiry/research process for intermediate and high school students. Organized into four sections reflecting the stages of inquiry, each section offers organizers, strategies, tips and assessment tools to help students develop essential research skills.

Collaborating For Inquiry

Wallace, V., & Husid, W. N. (2017). Collaborating for inquiry-based learning: School librarians and teachers partner for student achievement. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited.

This practical guide to inquiry-based learning outlines the PLAN (Prepare, Learn, Analyze, and New Discoveries) research model, provides detailed instructions to facilitate implementation, and highlights the leadership role of the teacher librarian in the collaborative inquiry process.


Watt, J., & Colyer, J. (2014). IQ: A practical guide to inquiry-based learning. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press. THINQ kindergarten THINQ 1-3 THINQ 4-6 THINQ 7-9

Each title in this series clearly describes the inquiry process and provides teachers with practical tips for integrating inquiry-based learning in classrooms from kindergarten to the intermediate level.

Judy Ameline

Judy Ameline is a librarian at the Toronto District School Board Professional Library with almost 30 years experience providing reference service. She is passionate about providing TDSB teachers and leaders access to current, cutting edge information in the field of education to support their professional development needs. Check out the Library’s Pinterest Boards and follow her on Twitter @AmelineJudy

Judy Chyung

Judy Chyung has an extensive experience providing Education Reference and Online Services to the educators and leaders of Toronto District School Board at the TDSB Professional Library. She enjoys reading and learning about the trends in education literature, and assisting TDSB educators with their information needs whether for their classroom support or for their professional learning. One of the current initiatives that she leads is the curated Resource Guides for Heritage Months celebrated by TDSB. You can check out the Guides at http://bit.ly/DirectoryHeritageMonthListsPL. Her daughter, who is currently in a middle school in TDSB, keeps her in touch with the pulse of a school life and daily issues our kids face in a school.