Middle school students are focused on the process of inquiry.
Today they explored documents, articles, and books about the Chicago Fire to stimulate their curiosity. Then students were grouped in fours. Each group discussed possible sub-topics they’d be interested in exploring further. Then, cooperatively, they narrowed to a single topic and formulated a guiding question. This question will guide their research and project design this entire week.
Groups are responsible for deciding how to manage their time, organize their research, and present their findings visually and orally. Some groups are filming “news reports”; some are conducting experiments and incorporating those into demonstrations and speeches; still others are building models, designing posters, drawing maps, etc.
In addition to the groups’ visual and oral aspects, each individual student is responsible for a written research report that answers their guiding question.
Below are the guiding questions the students came up with today and will be working on this week:
- How did the fire really start? Exploring multiple theories.
- How did Chicago’s building codes change as a result of the Great Fire?
- What did Chicago look like (map/boundaries/skyline)prior to the fire? How does that compare to Chicago today?
- What motivated architects to come to Chicago to rebuild? Who were they, and how did their designs prevent further disasters?
- How did weather affect the spread of the fire? What could have been done to prevent the rapid spread?
- How did Chicago rebuild so quickly? How did the rebuilt city differ?
- How were shelter houses involved in the recovery of the city?
- Which buildings and landmarks survived, and how have they endured?
Keep reading for updates throughout the week as middle school students dive into these questions.