Statement of Inquiry

Statement of Inquiry
Once you’ve picked your Key Concept, Related Concepts, and decided on the Global Context, you can write a statement of inquiry that gets at the heart of all three aspects.  This is different than the old unit planners, because it can’t be a question.  In Developing MYP Units, the IB specifiies that

“this statement (of inquiry) expresses the relationship between concepts and context; it represents a transferable idea supported by factual content. Statements of inquiry facilitate synergistic thinking, synthesizing factual and conceptual levels of mental processing and creating a greater impact on cognitive development than either level of thinking by itself” (Erickson 2007 and Marzano 2010). 

The statement of inquiry:

            • represents a contextualized, conceptual understanding
            • describes a complex relationship that is worthy of inquiry
            • explains clearly what students should understand and why that understanding is meaningful
            • can be qualified (using phrases such as “often”, “may” and “can”) if it is not true in all situations, but is still an important idea, 
            • can be formulated at different levels of specificity.

Teachers can make very broad statements more specific, age-appropriate and focused by asking themselves “Why/how does this relationship or principle occur?” and “What are the implications of this understanding?” However, statements of inquiry should not be so specific that they cannot be transferable beyond the content of the unit” (Developing MYP Units). 

In some cases, you may be able to take your old unit questions and turn it into a statement, thus making your Statement of Inquiry.  If you look below, the previous Unit Question could easily have been: Why have groups of people sought to control the resources of the neighbors since the beginning of human civilization?


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Once you have a Statement of Inquiry, the IB had added a structured questioning component to drive inquiry.  They are Conceptual, Debatable, and Factual Questions.  See the chart from the Developing MYP Units publication below:

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The following three questions should build on each other in the way that the debatable question comes last.  The factual or conceptual questions could be interchanged depending on how you deliver your unit.

Below is an example from ManageBac.  They will let you choose the order or amount of questions to choose.  As a general guidelines, it’s best to do at least one question for each line of questioning.

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