I have an opportunity to “FOSILise” a research project that our Y7 english students do on pirates. I have attached the current task sheet and wonder if I can pick your brains about how to re format it as an inquiry question. There is no real aim as far as I am aware as to the learning other than they study Treasure Island as the set text prior to the project. For this reason, I think they can come up with their own questions but I wonder if they need a little more guidance. Any thoughts would be very much appreciated.
Hi Rachel, thanks for sharing this project. This is very exciting. I would look at the initial inquiry planning form to guide you to the questions you might first need to ask the teacher. It really is best if they can tell you what their learning objectives are for their students.
I would narrow the options they can choose from down a little as they will need to spend too much time reading all of it to decide what they would like to focus on. Two or three choices at the most.
I am sure that there are others who can think of some better questions than me but here are my suggestions to get the discussion going. You need to think about putting the students into the heart of the research so questions like…
Would you have to be a bad person to make a good pirate?
What would your life be like if you were a pirate?
Which you would prefer to be and why? A corsair, privateer, buccaneer or a pirate?
Thank you Elizabeth, this is a real help. I did wonder if there was a bit too much to look at. I had a thought about playing the song “Its a pirates life for me” (I think its called that!) and getting them to think about if a pirates life would be for them so “What would your life be like if you were a pirate?” might be a good one to go with.
Sounds like a great idea Rachel. I would also adapt one of the inquiry journals to give you a starting point that you can show your teacher. Use something like Why could they cure the Black Death, that you can edit with your own question and resources on page 6-10. You could also change the focus at the end to be more about what they found rather than ranking reasons for the order of importance to what the teacher might like them to focus on.
Thank you for sharing the assignment your grade 7 students would be working on. Earlier this year I enjoyed watching The Lost Pirate Kingdom on Netflix, https://www.netflix.com/de-en/title/81035118 I am certain this is a topic your year 7 students will enjoy learning about.
Some thoughts that I had for this were:
1. Arrange the resources according to the inquiry cycle. Which ones are good for gaining an initial overview of the life of a pirate (connect and wonder stage)? Which ones are more specialized which students can select from once they have developed a unique inquiry question to explore (for the investigate stage)? Doing this could help to limit the resources provided as Elizabeth has already mentioned.
2. Select a library resource to introduce to your students to use during the assignment. Does your library encyclopedia have a good article about the life of pirates. Could you list all of the books students can borrow from the library about pirates? You want to get your students used to using your school library for assignments and so using the collaboration to reinforce the habit of them using the library for research can help build this habit.
3. What FOSIL skills do you want your students to focus on during this inquiry? There are many skills that students need to develop over their school careers. Which one do you want them to hone in on during this unit? I imagine this would be done through a discussion with the teacher you are collaborating with and be written on the initial planning sheet.
Thank you for sharing and best of luck with this unit of inquiry.