Web Inquiry Projects (WIPs) are open inquiry learning activities that leverage the use of uninterpreted online data and information.


All too often students learn about English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies rather than acting as authors, mathematicians, scientists, or historians.

The World Wide Web contains millions of uninterpreted sources of data, both quantitative and qualitative, that can be used in ways that allow learners to actively pursue answers to questions that are both interesting and relevant to their required classroom studies. Every subject area is interesting and full of inquiry-oriented questions.

Unfortunately, most teachers own experiences learning in inquiry-oriented ways are quite limited, and since our tendency is to teach the way we were taught, inquiry methods are rarely applied in today's classrooms, particularly guided inquiry and open inquiry. What's more, the wealth of information available online has been used by learners for little more than old-fashioned research and regurgitation of facts.

Due to the lack of their own inquiry experiences, many teachers would benefit from seeing "snapshots" of inquiry activities that make effective use of uninterpreted online data and information.


Web Inquiry Projects (WIPs) have been created to help educators discover and pursue the use of online resources to promote inquiry in their teaching.

Inquiry places more responsibility on learners. Of course, in reality it can be quite difficult to require students to ask their own inquiry-oriented questions related to a given topic and define their own procedures for answering these questions. WIPs are designed to help teachers scaffold this process, thereby enabling teachers to promote guided inquiry and open inquiry with their students.

By seeing a snapshot of how inquiry can be done with a particular topic, teachers know

  • what questions students should ask,
  • what resources will help answer these questions,
  • how to manipulate these resources,
  • and what the answers to these questions could be.

WIPs support a six-stage spiral path of inquiry. WIPs are intended to be used by teachers as a roadmap for guiding students through inquiry-oriented activities that are sparked from the curiosity of students. Only the first of the six stages, the Hook, is typically provided to the learner, while the other five stages are available for teachers to draw upon as needed as they scaffold their students' inquiries. The six stages to a WIP are:

  1. Hook
  2. Questions
  3. Procedures
  4. Data Investigation
  5. Analysis
  6. Findings

Papers and Presentations

For a more thorough description of what Web Inquiry Projects are, read the paper that started it all:

You can also download/view PowerPoint presentations: