Who is Sarah Kong and why is she starting a blog for Chem Ed X about Inquiry?
It’s true, most people have never heard of me. In fact, Sarah Kong didn’t exist a year ago. That’s because when I got married I changed my name. As Sarah Toman I participated in Target Inquiry at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and that is really where I began to be very intentional about using inquiry throughout all of my courses. I have been interested in inquiry learning my whole life, it is how I was taught by my parents. However, through my years at GVSU where we discussed what inquiry means, re-wrote lessons over and over, wrote new lessons and tested them together, I really started using specific inquiry based activities regularly and thinking about teaching science the way science is done.
Since my time at GVSU I have been able to attend several conferences (ACS, BCCE, Chem Ed, MSTA, etc) to speak with others about how they use inquiry in their classrooms. Through these discussions my confidence has grown and as I continue to use this model in my classroom, I can see my students learning chemistry at a very different level than how I taught 10 years ago. My goal is to use this blog to continue dialoging with you, my chemistry colleagues, in order that we might encourage one another, share and evaluate ideas together, and challenge one another with the ultimate goal of becoming better chemistry teachers and for our students to learn chemistry on a richer, deeper level.
First question: How do you define inquiry learning?