During their first foray into Inquiry Based Learning, 4th and 6th grade students at Pleasant Street & Dan Emmett Elementary Schools discovered and applied grade level math concepts by tackling real-world problems that required knowledge of those concepts.
In a fairly straight forward scenario, 4th grade students determined the number of rolls of wallpaper and border needed to wallpaper "their" bedroom. They used principles and formulas related perimeter and area including the area of spaces with holes in them, to complete their project.
Sixth graders tackled a more ill structured (fuzzier)
problem with more than one possible answer that could be reasonably defended,
as they used statistical measures and displays to help decide where to go on a
family roller coaster road trip.
As students learn or review material by using it, they begin
to put those concepts into long term memory, often better than simply learning
the same concepts by rote, or "because it's on the test."