Many innovative teachers who have been using inquiry learning methods for years were able to share their stories.

“Being in an alternative school, it’s pretty obvious that school hasn’t worked out as well for them as other students. Trying to find creative solutions to reach them has always been a goal of ours, and inquiry helps us do that and reach them where they’re at,” said Robert Sehl, from Riverview High School.

Rachel Thune Real of Mountain View High School shared her experience in using the full OpenCitizen process in 2022 and 2023. Over nine weeks, her students identified a community challenge they were passionate about, then followed a cycle of asking their own natural next questions, researching answers, and sharing learnings with their team. They then took action on their new knowledge by following a project plan that they created as a team. Students wrapped up their projects by presenting their exciting learnings to parents in an after-school showcase. Some of the questions her students asked were “How can high school students help improve literacy rates for elementary school students?” and “How can environmental changes in classrooms benefit students' mental health?”

“Inquiry-based learning enables students to exercise agency over their learning conditions, which in turn empowers them to become collaborators, communicators, creators, and change-makers right now,” Thune Real said.

All attendees are eligible to apply for pilot funding to support implementation of OpenCitizen programs in their fall 2023 classrooms. High school students that submit complete deliverables through the full OpenCitizen process can receive ASU college credit for their work. 

“This is an exciting opportunity to offer credit to students for practicing life skills that will benefit them in college and career,” said Carolyn Bickers, co-founder at Beagle Learning. 

Sally Young

Senior Communications Specialist, Interplanetary Initiative