Doing a 3-part lesson does not mean you are doing math inquiry

Back in February 2013, I published a post ‘Thoughts on math inquiry…subject to change after I click publish‘. In that post I listed a few ideas I had with respect to math inquiry. One of the ideas I expressed was this idea that “Doing a 3-part lesson does not mean you are doing inquiry”.

I think this was related to my observation that most teachers attempting math inquiry for the first time, become preoccupied with the 3-part lesson framework and the inquiry question you might ask students.  I know this was the case with me.  As a result, little attention was being paid to important steps needed to sustain the inquiry process, such as developing a math-talk learning environment.  In other words, you can ask the best inquiry question, but if students are not accustomed to showing, proving and reflecting upon their thinking, then inquiry becomes difficult. This is something I have discussed, elsewhere.

To use the image of an iceberg.  A teacher new to inquiry, walking into the classroom of a skilled math inquiry teacher, might notice the inquiry question and 3-part lesson framework standing out prominently amid a sea of math pedagogy or practice.

iceberg metaphor 1

But is there more to math inquiry?

If we were to redirect our gaze to other parts of that inquiry iceberg, then one might observe that there is perhaps more to it.

iceberg metaphor 2

With this visual in mind, I wonder…

…what else helps to contribute to the sustainability of the math problem solving or inquiry process?

…what other elements can be used (in addition to 3-part lesson) to contribute to a comprehensive math program?

…what important components of the problem solving or math inquiry process go unnoticed but are nevertheless important to learn about and develop?

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