Inquiry in the Community (IC) helps youth-serving
organizations engage in high-quality science programming. We provide free planning
tools, professional development curriculum, and activities; you provide the
know-how and energy to use them in your own program. And, while your staff and
volunteers are learning how to lead science activities, you'll find that
they're also learning skills to deliver high-quality youth program, no matter
The resources on this website were created by Girl Scouts
of Western Washington and Seattle University with funding from National Science
Foundation under awards DRL-0813455 and
DRL-0813464, and are freely available for use and adaptation. Please attribute Inquiry in the Community, http://www.seattleu.edu/scieng/inquiry.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or
recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do
not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Inquiry in the
Community (IC) uses inquiry-based science to teach youth development
volunteers and staff how to lead high-quality activities with kids. Over the
past five years, we have worked with hundreds of staff and volunteers in four
very different Girl Scout councils.
Councils gain several benefits by implementing our tools. First, their
volunteers and staff learn how to confidently lead science activities. At the
same time, these adults learn how to create quality experiences for girls in
Girl Scouts…no matter the topic. Girls practice important science and critical
thinking skills, and experience the power of the Girl Scout Leadership
Experience. It's a win-win-win.
Why inquiry-based science? It teaches practices that are
at the heart of Girl Scouting. Inquiry science
encourages youth to make meaningful decisions, do hands-on activities, engage
in cycles of planning, action, and reflection, and work together. In short,
inquiry science relies on three foundational elements of Girl Scouts: what we
now call "girl-led," "learning by doing," and "cooperative learning."
Unfortunately, these three processes are also some of the hardest skills for
Girl Scout volunteers to learn and put into practice.
To give their volunteers (and staff) these needed skills,
councils integrate our adult curriculum, activities, and resources into their
everyday functions. But we don't believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. With Inquiry in the Community, you are in the
driver's seat: you decide the best way to use our tools in your council.
We provide planning tools and checklists that help you decide
how to implement our materials in your council. We encourage councils to first
facilitate the adult curricula with some or all of their membership,
volunteerism, and program staff. Then, these staff members can participate in
the planning process; they identify which tools fit, where, and what the
timeline will be. Often, they find that our curricula and tools help them meet
goals they already had – like teaching volunteers how to make activities
"girl-led," or communicating the power of Girl Scouts to potential community
partners and volunteers.
Read on for stories showing
how Girl Scout councils have implemented Inquiry
in the Community.
Listen to Stephanie talk about the project on NWP Radio (her interview begins @ 25:20).
Want to see what this looks like outside of Girl Scouts?