We experienced that when learning is seen as a journey of inquiry and when the learner is given the power to drive and co-create this journey it becomes more enjoyable, meaningful and intellectually stimulating.

Watch Kiran share the incident which sparked the design of the Program of Inquiry.


Try the empathy lens:

Divide your class into two groups of children:

In Group 1, give each child an individual puzzle to solve with the pieces and the reference picture.

In Group 2, divide children into sub-groups of 4 members each and give each sub-group a puzzle to solve with the pieces but not the final picture.

Notice how the two methodologies of learning work for children in terms of collaboration, communication and constructivist thinking.


  • Right from day one, our learning ethos was that age, gender and demographics had nothing to do with the learners’ competency. Since we always relied on the principles of design thinking for the user experience – it was natural for us to invite the learner to co- create the learning journey with us.

  • We noticed that once the learner understood the relevance then the sense of ownership for their learning became more evident and the engagement was a natural fall out.

  • We teachers only acted as facilitators and goalkeepers to offer enough support to guide and not to drive the inquiry.

  • We also noticed that children responded to multiple sensorial experiences to file information and that is why the ‘textbook’ became just one data point and not the holy grail of knowledge and learning. In fact, when children were given the open ended questions as the ‘hooks’ to finding relevance and meaning, they felt challenged and gained a further sense of accomplishment, as one child remarked, “We feel we have earned our learning”!

  • We also saw that children cultivated a sense of elevation and abundance when personal as well as group outcomes was celebrated.



We could get children to experience that learning is explorative, transdisciplinary and driven by questions and not answers?


We designed the ‘Program of Inquiry’ (POI) which was an empowered curriculum that was built on student experiences and offered opportunities to learn concepts in a transdisciplinary framework across multiple domains.

The key steps of POI:

  • Designing of the hook by bringing some authentic material into the classroom to kindle the curiosity of children;

  • Building a knowledge web from the questions that children raise;

  • Using the FIDS template to co-create the Understanding Goals which the children want to achieve through the particular Inquiry;

  • Design of different Guided Inquiries comprising of authentic experiences and languages of learning such as experiments, videos, visits and expert interventions to help children build a deeper understanding of the concept;

  • Performance of Understanding by students through their chosen medium such as illustration, models, demonstrations, etc.

  • Revisiting of Concepts to reinforce the learning;

  • Culmination of the POI by presentation to buddies / peers / parents / visitors to the school / experts.

The fallout of POI was that children learnt that the more persistent they are in the pursuit of their questions the more answers unravel. They also built a faith and confidence in traversing unfamiliar territory without waiting for the teacher to tell them what to learn. Alongside, they also built skills of time management, communication and value of quality work.



This process video helps make visible the co-creation, design and implementation of the ‘Program of Inquiry (POI)’.


‘In the above video you will get a glimpse of how the teacher identifies and co-creates with the students the understanding goals of the ‘Program of Inquiry (POI)’ and also how they design with students the Guided Inquiries using different experiences and languages of learning.

  • 5:44

    Case Study 1: School Tour

    Watch Grade 2 students design a School Tour as part of the Program of Inquiry.


In this section, Riverside edu-heroes share strategies and insights from their experience of the process and how the process has impacted their practice.

  • 6:52

    FAQ Video

    Watch Nandini share some insights on implementing the ‘Program of Inquiry (POI)’ by igniting curiosity in the students and helping them to drive their own learning journey.

  • 5:11

    Impact Video

    Watch how conducting the ‘Program of Inquiry (POI)’ impacts Nandini and helps to make her classroom practice more student centered and driven by their interests.


  • Initially, help teachers to plan only one unit as a Program of Inquiry in the semester including all the elements of experiential learning and experimentation with different languages of learning. They can also pick a pre-existing project based lesson plan from an online source (see I CAN LESSON PLANS).

  • Teachers can use POI as an opportunity to plan, teach and assess as a team (Team teaching: two or more teachers coming together to teach multidisciplinary concepts).

  • Make sure that teachers remove the test and children choose their preferred method and medium to demonstrate their understanding of the concept.

  • Let your teachers know that learning is not about the speed at which children learn the concepts, rather it is about the channelizing and pruning of their experiences to make it a deeply etched cognition. It is equally important to have high expectations of children to go deep and wide in their inquiry.