Tag Archives: Inquiry-based

Inquiry-Based Learning and Following the Rabbit Hole

Our Sun, courtesy of NASA.

“When did humans first learn that stars are suns?”

This is a question my 9 year old son asked earlier this week.  My response?

“That’s a good question! Let’s look it up!”

We like using DuckDuckGo and it brought us here:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=When+did+humans+first+learn+that+stars+are+suns

The very first result is a webpage sponsored by Stanford’s SOLAR Center:

http://solar-center.stanford.edu/FAQ/Qsunasstar.html

It was interesting to read about how many people and years it took to form this answer.

This search inevitably brought on even more questions.  Questions I made time for and we researched.  At one point my son got a disgusted look on his face.  It really was a face of disbelief and then he asked, “How can someone be killed for a thought?”

We had just read that Giordano Bruno had been burned at the stake for his thoughts on the universe, but not before being imprisoned for 6 years by the Roman Inquisition for heresy. Later, Galileo Galilei was also imprisoned until he died for heresy.

What is heresy?

This led to a conversation on personal conviction.  More importantly, we discussed being free to think and believe what we choose.  We talked about power, who has it, what it means to have it, and how it is used.  I left many things open for pondering and discussion.

Some questions can only be answered with more questions.  Some questions can only be answered by personal life experience.  Many answers I do not get to choose for my children but I can guide them and lead them until they are ready to take the helm on their journey to answers.

If they choose, it is a journey to Know Thyself.  As an adult and parent I have learned this journey is never-ending.

Knowing why we believe what we do is very important in living a whole and ethical life.  

What do we base our beliefs on and does it matter?  The answer is a resounding YES!  It does matter.  We need to know why we think the way we do.  Ultimately, there are very few things in life with definitive answers and even less absolute truths. There is still so much about this world and life we do not know.  In our home, the scientific method is important. Research-based evidence gets us closer to answers but keeping an open mind in light of insufficient evidence is an even better default position.

As parents we can create a space for our children to learn with guidance and freedom.

How do you approach learning in your life?