Inquiry-Based Learning – Curriculum Connections in the Library

Clem, Katy


Stripling, B. K. (2003). Inquiry-Based Learning. Curriculum Connections in the Library. Edited by Stripling, B. K. & Hughes-Hassell, S. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Barbara Stripling (of Stripling’s Model of Inquiry fame) authored the first chapter in this book written to connect librarians and educators as collaborators in education. She is a foundational thinker in inquiry-based education, and her words on the approach are a fantastic starting point for anyone approaching the subject.

This chapter is the BEST thing I read in my research for INFO 250: content-rich, based in a history of education theory, deeply inspiring, and full of practical applications that feel manageable. Tracking it down is a bit tricky; I found a used copy of the book on Amazon for $4, and every chapter is gold. SO WORTH IT.

Teaching Social Studies with Video Games
Maguth, B. M., List, J. S., Wunderle, M. (2015). Teaching social studies with video games. The Social Studies, 106(1), 32-36. doi: 10.1080/00377996.2014.961996
This article highlights the use of interactive video games as instructional tools in the classroom.  Students used the game Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings to build up a civilization.  This game was chosen because it could be aligned with state standards, had an easy to use interface, and good enough graphics to keep students engaged.  The teacher assessed student learning by having students write reflections related to academic content standards such as geography, trade, economics, etc.  Students were required to make connections between class discussions and the video game.  Teacher and student found the game to be a success in allowing students to practice academic content in “real world” scenario that was engaging.  The article even attributes this teaching strategy as an example of learning through play—a theory of Vygotsky and Piaget.

This article highlights the importance of information and technology literacy in our classrooms.  While this article did not highlight the role of a teacher librarian, I can only imagine how much more beneficial the outcome would have been if teacher and teacher librarian had co-taught this assignment.

Seven Surprising Benefits of Maker Spaces

Brandt, Alisa

Barron, C., & Barron, A. (2016, August 2). Seven surprising benefits of maker
    spaces [Blog post]. Retrieved from School Library Journal website:

ET – Maker Spaces

IL – Motivation

This article reveals the seven physical and psychological benefits of maker spaces in libraries beyond meeting curriculum standards.
Focusing on making brings people into the present moment giving them a break from focusing on the past or future too much. Making is physical and gets people moving, stretching, and standing, which gets blood flowing. Making is dependent upon self-directed engagement and gives people motivation to complete a task rather than having to do a required task. This means that people are learning what interests them and leads to a greater sense of satisfaction. Making uses hand-based activities which gives people a deeper connection to their brain and the development of skills such as visual thinking and problem solving. Making improves mood, giving people a boost of happiness. Maker spaces in libraries create a sense of community and connection which can prevent loneliness. Making “prevents the habit of wastefulness” by salvaging old materials and creating something new (Barron & Barron, 2016).

Evaluation: We are all familiar with the ways that makerspaces in schools enhance student learning and help to meet curriculum standards. It is also helpful to understand the ways in which making, whether it is simple or complex, provides so many mental and physical benefits to makers. In a time when people are increasingly disconnected from others and from the physical and mental processes that keep humans healthy, making provides an opportunity to gain some of this back.

How A Moveable Space Can Ignite Creativity In The Classroom

May 5th, 2015

Elizabeth Brown

Pfau, P. (2014, November 26). How a moveable space can ignite creativity in the classroom mind shift  
[Web log post] Retrieved from

Summary: Imagine a classroom with mobile desks and chairs that move with the students. In his KQED blog, Peter Pfau (2014) writes how in some schools, stationary learning environments are now a thing of the past. Instead, “moveable spaces” are being created with an innovative educational technique called “Design Thinking.” Pfau explains,”It combines hands on learning (tinkering with independent problem solving methodologies).” That being said, these projects emphasize the importance of group work as well.  To that end, Pfau gives two examples that encourages student team- work: “Create a shared design-thinking space for all students to use” and “Look for spaces in your classroom that can be transformed into a student-driven collaboration classroom.” According to Pfau, Design Thinking employs four different steps: “Identify the problem and research to understand the problem better.” “Brainstorm possible strategies and identity solutions.” “Test these solutions (welcoming failure as a tool)” and “Apply what you learn to evolve best solutions.”

Evaluation: With “design thinking” and other maker spaces, the learning environment is of utmost importance. Moreover, students will learn more effectively if they create the space themselves  and make it their own because they will have the self-satisfaction of knowing that they designed their own classroom. They will also be more productive, being able to move around, as opposed to being confined to a small desk and chair. In addition, making mobile learning environments does double-duty in terms of practical learning applications. Not only are the students making their own functional working stations that they can later use, the space itself is the project. In the process, students will become self-directed learners or “designers” whom not only know how to work with other students and solve problems, they will know how to create useful (learning) spaces in the future.