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Inquiry in the Amazon – Why ask why?

November 7, 2012

The greatest question you can ask is WHY.”  This quote, pasted to the wall of the Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies field station, drives so much of what we do in the Amazon. It keeps us honest as educators, researchers, facilitators, and learners. It is simple and profound. Three simple letters – w.h.y. – packed with so much power. For us, questions like this open the door to the universe – be it in a drop of water on the tip of a tropical leaf, the incredible camouflage of an Amazon katydid, or pondering how to engage participants in meaningful investigations of the Amazon.

Asking questions primes the pump of curiosity and being curious is what drives inquiry-based learning…and if there ever was a place that can ignite curiosity and inspire inquiry it is the Amazon!

In the Amazon I.N.Q.U.I.R.Y. is all about:

  • active INVOLVEMENT in the learning process via field studies and hands-on research projects.
  • constructing NEW KNOWLEDGE through personal encounters with the complex rainforest ecosystem.
  • uncovering new QUESTIONS behind each tree, under each leaf, and around each river bend.
  • seeking deeper UNDERSTANDING your role in a sustainable future for the rainforest.
  • developing an INQUISITIVE world view that opens the door to global understanding.
  • realizing solving RIGOUROUS scientific problems is fun and you can participate as a citizen scientist.
  • discovering YOURSELF as a learner as you stretch beyond your normal comfort zone.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION:  What does I.N.Q.U.I.R.Y mean to you?  How do you use inquiry to ignite curiosity? What makes you curious about the Amazon?

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