What a super idea for inquiry – I love it! Such a rich wealth of ideas to explore and a fascinating product. How long have they got for this?
In answer to your questions:
Yes, it is always a good idea for an inquiry to have an overarching question to stimulate curiosity. In this case, how about something quite broad and enigmatic such as “What’s behind the mask?”. The person leading the inquiry can then guide the student question generations along the lines of why people wear masks, what kinds of masks they wear and how that has changed (or not!) through history. Maybe in Connect start with a stimulus passage from the play around the masquerade to root them originally in that time period, and look at a small selection of resources relating to the play and the time period. This will also help with your ultimate aim for them to “gain a greater understanding of the play, its themes, the social and cultural context of the time” as the bulk of the inquiry doesn’t seem to focus on this and it might be lost if you don’t emphasise it in Connect.
I think the direction you take in Wonder depends how much time you have. In a completely free inquiry you might let them do entirely their own thing and follow their own individual lines of inquiry, however one of the most liberating things I realised through our work with Kevin Heppell on Mondrian Wall is that it is fine to have a focus inquiry stage for each inquiry. You do need to work through every stage every time, but you don’t need to give every stage equal prominence. Definitely work on generating questions, perhaps together, but you can channel which ones of those are suitable for this inquiry, should you wish to. Between you, you will need to bear in mind both the intended product and the resources available (a lesson that my involvement with the EPQ, the ultimate in wide-ranging free inquiry, is hammering home!). Perhaps you should tell them that they will need to choose a masquerade/mask style (perhaps from a list of ones you have resources on?) and theme and then investigate their own questions around this style?
For a tricky topic where there are limited resources, particularly if you have limited time, I would definitely provide a curated set of core resources. If, having used those, they have time to go beyond on their own then that’s fine. In terms of Investigate skills you can focus on selecting appropriate information from within the resources and making suitable notes rather than on finding resources, so you are still developing skills in this area.
For Construct, it is really just a case pulling all their ideas together in one place. How about a graphic organiser where they list ideas about masquerade and mask design in their given style on one side, ideas about their theme on the other, and have a box in the middle of the page where they bring these together into ideas for a mask design of their own? Don’t forget to leave space for referencing. If you think that’s a workable idea then I can probably generate something fairly quickly by pulling together other things that I have. I don’t think there’s a ready made one that does exactly this job – most of the ones we have centre on comparing different arguments and coming to a conclusion, which isn’t quite the same thing.
Glossary is always good. Maybe get them to run it alongside their Investigate stage, treasure hunt style… give them some prepopulated words that they must find definitions for and space for a couple of bonus extras.
One other thing to watch out for – this looks like an excellent inquiry but it is quite complex for Year 8 and they will need plenty of guidance along the way, in terms of what they should be doing, where they should be looking and how long they have for each stage (but I’m sure you know that). Watch out for cognitive overload as they will be investigating two things simultaneously (style and theme) AND producing a glossary at the same time.
So looking forward to seeing what you produce and how they get on. Let me know if I can help with the Construct sheet.