Target 1 Student-Centered Learning.  FWSU students will engage in personalized learning involving collaborative inquiry, problem solving and creative learning opportunities.

Action Step – Highlight, create and model innovative learning opportunities that promote collaborative inquiry, problem solving and creativity for students and staff.

Indicator of Success – Students and staff will apply existing knowledge to create original works as a means of personal or group expression.


Middle school students are getting down to serious work in FWSU.   Eighth grade students at GEMS have begun their first short social studies research project. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) sets the expectation that students will develop capacity to build their own knowledge by researching and responding analytically to authentic information relevant to learners.  It is time for students to dig in and to gather content knowledge for their social studies work during the rest of the year.

photo 3CCSS identifies clear research outcomes for eighth graders:

  • Conduct short research and more sustained research projects
  •  Acquire research skills necessary for longer projects while building much needed background knowledge.

Based on the CCSS,  teachers are designing projects which allow students to quickly build a foundation of knowledge.   For instance, Mr. Hadd’s students will be researching “What is Geography?”     The process is outlined for all students, but each student frames his/her own questions and pulls unique information from multiple sources.

photo 1

The research is guided by General Inquiry Process which includes:

  • Build a foundation or draw on prior knowledge
  • Formulate a question
  • Investigate – research – cite sources
  • Revise question (if needed)
  • Investigate – research – cite sources
  • Formulate answer
  • Ask follow-up questions; expand inquiry, if time allows
  • Discuss – share – reflect

In the week to come, students will pull together to formulate the answer to their probing questions, to create products to demonstrate their understanding, and to discuss findings and research experiences within a small group.   Many important skills are clustered together within a single project, driven by the curiosity and the individual interests of each student in the class.   The students are doing the work; the teacher’s role is to guide them in their process.

Mr. Hadd’s class will experience  short research projects throughout the year.  Stay tuned for a glimpse into their discussions.

One thought on “GEMS Students Engage in Research- CCSS Style

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