Students take Informed Action when they use the key findings from a sustained investigation to design and implement an action that impacts the world in a meaningful way. In this way, Informed Action serves a purpose beyond an individual letter grade, whether that is to inspire, change behaviors, solve a problem, or serve an audience. It is this authentic purpose that deepens student engagement and learning.
When designing inquiries for students, teachers are looking for the sweet spot of Informed Action, when the challenge, purpose, and audience of student action come together to create meaning and deepen learning.
If students are only informed during an inquiry, they might pursue an Inquiry Question, but only be challenged to show their understanding to their teacher for a letter grade on a test or deliverable. And if students only take action, then their challenge might be limited to participating in an activity that’s vaguely related to their learning, even if they are addressing a public audience. It’s not that there’s no purpose for a test, stand-alone project, or activity; during an inquiry, they can serve a valuable purpose to assess learning, engage students, and check for understanding. But these can’t be the point of an inquiry.
When an inquiry promotes informed action, however, the point becomes clear and resonates with students. They identify a challenge that is informed by learning and addresses a real-world problem—one that matters to their community and connects to their lived experience. Their audience is outside the classroom as well, whether it’s students in a different grade or outside their school building. While they may receive a grade, the grade isn’t the point of their action. Students are trying to have an authentic impact on the world.