Student initiated, authentic, relevant, challenging: a counting inquiry.

Originally posted on my class blog

Kieran from the ELC came to our classroom this morning with a question: “How many days till he started Kindergarten?” Hmmm… Good question! How could we find out? The Kindergarten children thought about it. “Well, we have to count.” said Nikhil. Everyone agreed that this would be a good start. “Wait!” cried Trenton “But what shall we count?” “That’s a very good question!” remarked Hal. Heads nodded as children agreed that it was indeed a very good question.

  • Nikhil We have to count days.
  • Phebe I think it’s seven days.
  • Maya Yes, it’s seven!
  • Trenton I don’t agree with Maya’s idea because it’s too small number.
  • Daan Because it’s not enough, seven.
  • Trenton It has to be more.
  • Daan Maybe one hundred?
  • Nia Well, actually, I don’t know.
  • Hal Well we know it can’t be seven because that’s one week and we know the ELC are not coming to Kindergarten in one week. (Many chuckles at this idea!)
  • Olivia I agree with Hal’s idea, I think it can’t be seven
  • Daan Could it be one hundred, maybe?
  • Nikhil Or ‘finity?
  • Trenton Not infinity!
  • Hal I’ve got it! It’s exactly the same day that we go to grade 1!
  • Olivia Well I noticed that that’s the same as asking how many days till August because I remember that’s when we started in Kindergarten and that’s when Grade 1 starts.
  • Hal At last! We almost have a solution!
  • Trenton We nearly solved our problem!

A group of six children choose to continue to work on finding an answer to Kieran’s question. After much discussion they decided that the next step is to find out which date in August school starts.

As always, the adults observe the children carefully, giving the children time and space to conduct their own inquiries and construct their own understandings but ready to step in and support the learning when the children become stuck and we sense they are getting frustrated. For now, the children are high on motivation and are busy formulating and testing strategies and theories.

About tasha cowdy

PYP coordinator; Reggio inspired early childhood teacher; Workshop leader; Using technology to flatten classrooms; Involving parents in children's learning; Switzerland
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4 Responses to Student initiated, authentic, relevant, challenging: a counting inquiry.

  1. Jason Graham says:

    Thats very cool, love that interaction between the kids. Transcribing the students, what great way of unpacking their inquiry too. Really brings the importance of the process to the forefront.


  2. tashacowdy says:

    Hi Jason! Transribing is really useful for helping me to understand the chn’s thinking. Also allows them to revisit and build on their own and others’ thinking. I love the way they agree and disagree with each others theories, constructing meaning as they discuss. : )


  3. Miranda says:

    Another magical glimpse into your classroom. I can’t wait to hear what happened next! Thanks for sharing how inquiry lives in your classroom environment- I am feeling inspired to listen extra carefully to my kids today.


  4. tashacowdy says:

    Thanks for the support : ) I’m so often amazed by the conversation snippets I hear when I make time to stop and listen to the children. I get much deeper insights into their understanding. It always makes me wonder about all the things I’m missing when I’m not listening carefully.


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