The Foundation awards grants to MCPASD teachers and staff annually for innovative and unique programs that complement the district’s educational goals. See how the grants are being used and how our donors’ dollars make a difference!

Park third grade teacher Karla Freimuth received a grant to develop a program she calls Inquiry Hour.

Karla Freimuth

“It’s a time created for third graders to use inquiry-based research and learning to develop independent or group inquiries and create projects to produce and share their findings,” she explains. “Throughout the year, students moved through a four-step inquiry process: Question, Research, Create, Share.”

The program is designed to teach students the skills needed to be successful researchers.

“They were able to research topics that were unique to their own interests, which was highly motivating to them,” Freimuth says. “They also learned important research, technology and presentation skills. Projects included posters, Google slide presentations, models and mini books.” 

About 65 third graders participated.

“Many students said it was the best thing they did in third grade,” Freimuth adds.

The comments students shared on a post-assessment questionnaire show how much they enjoyed it.

One student said: “Instead of researching something the teacher tells you, you get to research anything you want.” Another commented: “You can have fun studying, and then make something to make it more fun.”

While students liked how fun the program was, Freimuth was happy with the impact it had on their learning.

“Students developed research and writing skills as they took notes about their topic of study,” she explains. “They also learned how to create Google slides to display their findings, and they used digital cameras to support to take pictures of some of their projects. The students also developed STEM-related thinking skills by using STEM-related building kits purchased through the grant and through their STEM-based inquiries.” 

The program will continue for Park third graders next year with a few changes.

“The main change I would make is to have a regularly scheduled time for Inquiry Hour and to have some type of regular parent help to manage the open-ended process more effectively,” Freimuth says.

Freimuth believes the skills that third graders develop through Inquiry Hour will have a lifelong impact.

“The type of research, thinking, STEM-related skills and multi-media presenting used during the inquiry process is critical to the type of thinking and skillset being asked of our workforce and future leaders,” she says.

For more details about Freimuth’s program, read the project update we shared earlier this year.

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