Hi all! This is my first time organising a FOSIL project at school. I’ve managed to convince 2 staff members (RE and English Subject Lead) to do an inquiry project. The only way this was possible was through the resources linked in the Inquiry Skills Framework (this resource is invaluable and I’ve been adding what I find into it so I can eventually share it with all staff at my school).
English background: Year 9 have been specifically chosen for this inquiry project. KS3 have a ‘literacy lesson’ booked once every 2 weeks. During this time they usually do reading, comprehension skills and some grammar work as we have non-specialists teaching these lessons. I was tasked with coming up with a way to prepare the Year 9 for the texts they’ll be reading in Year 10. The texts are The Empress by Tanika Gupta and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The Head of English stated that context is key in GCSE but they find it difficult to consider all context during the timeframe they’re given. We had to assume they have little to no research knowledge. Part of the whole school development plan is also to integrate metacognition into learning. So with that, I decided to give Year 9 the most open topics – to allow them to go through the whole inquiry process whilst considering their attitudes to learning. I also had to consider that this booklet needs to be something that a non-specialist can teach.
“Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – The Elizabethan Era and Renaissance Italy
The Empress by Tania Gupta – The Victorian Era and Britain’s relationship with India”
I introduced the project to my first Year 9 group (there are 5 in total) – and allowed them to choose which topic they’d like to research. I then asked them to pause and reflect on how they were feeling about starting this project. I got them to write down their emotions and had prompts ready to give suggestions for each group of emotions. For example, “If you are feeling confused: It’s okay to feel uncomfortable about doing something for the first time, or learning about something for the first time. It may be helpful to know that a lot of growth occurs when you feel a little uncomfortable at the beginning of an inquiry. It may also help for you to look at the contents page, and the headings of the resources and see what you will be doing over the next few weeks. Use this space to write down all the questions you may have.” I was absolutely blown away by the engagement in this process and I could hear the excitement about starting!
The booklet then goes on to the following resources:
What do you already know about the topic you’ve chosen? Do you have any assumptions to make?
Where do we go to search for background information? (a list was provided and they needed to cross out any unhelpful resources)
What is the end goal? Who will you be showing your work to?
Identifying key words, concepts, synonyms and related terms
Advanced web searching & review
Using organisational features of a book to locate information
Evaluation of resources tool sheet
STOP-REFLECT (Look back on all your work, check for any patterns, refine question, how are you feeling?)
Connecting to a manageable topic
Refining research questions
Notes on Main Ideas and Supporting Evidence
Questioning and challenging the text
Evaluating Evidence Checklist
Concept Maps for Organising Thinking
Drawing Conclusions Supported by Evidence
Communicating Ideas to an Audience
Individual Experience of Inquiry
Bibliography Worksheet for reference
RE background: I will be given the summer term to do an inquiry project with Year 7. The teacher would like me to focus on the Construct part of the cycle. They would have studied all that they needed to know in order to complete this project and the teacher would like to use this as a form of assessment. I am a bit confused in which way I should approach this and how to present it. I would like to do something similar to the Year 9 booklet, however, I fear this may be overwhelming and too advanced for the students in the class.
The question we have chosen is: Why do people believe in God, and how do they express it? They will focus on Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism as this is what they would have covered already. We will ask them to choose and group up. They will be ‘villagers’ and, by the end of their project, will need to invite people into their ‘village’ to talk about their chosen religion. They can decide who they can role play within their own religion: for example, a priest, a churchgoer, a catholic, a protestant, a person who studies the bible etc. I will take the advice on the Construct page on board and not tell them that this will be the format of the assessment. This will be told once they’ve gathered all their information. In terms of the Construct stage of the inquiry – I’m not sure how to lead them through it. Any help will be very much appreciated!
I hope this helps anyone who may be wondering where to start – just like me. The framework is an amazing resource, so please do start there! If you have any suggestions or things I should consider, chop or change, please do let me know.
Hi Jannath, thank you for sharing your plan so far. It is really useful to see how others are going about using FOSIL. Your booklet looks like it will be full of some really useful teaching and learning. If you could share it, it would be great to see how you set this out.
As far as the construct stage goes you do not need to teach the whole cycle, just focus on construct. It will depend on how long you have to teach this but I would start by encouraging them to talk about what they have learnt and understood about the topic they have just studied. What can they teach you or their peers about the topic? They already have all the information they need they now just need to pull the important information together to demonstrate their learning. This page is a good one to start with, although I am sure you have already found this… I would also be using this resource… Main points from my own research found here… and this one about drawing conclusions.
I am sure others will be along to give you some more ideas but do keep us informed about what you plan going forward and how the sessions went.