How I use “Discrepant Event Inquiry” in my classroom

A few years ago, I was introduced to “Discrepant Event Inquiry” from Glenn Wiebe. (Here is another post about it from his History Tech blog). The idea is that you take an image and only reveal a little bit at a time. As I reveal a little bit of the picture, the students must guess Who is in the picture, What is happening, When was the photograph taken, and Where is this taking place. This encourages students to think outside the box and it also does WONDERS with questioning and how to ask the right questions. Naturally, I turned this into a competition.

I go through pictures that have to do with current events and find 3 or 4 good ones. Some of them are funny, some are serious, some have NOTHING to do with what we are studying, and some directly relate to it. I use Keynote on my iPad to create the slides and display it on my screen using Reflector. My classes compete against each other to see who can guess the picture in the least amount of slides. They can only ask yes or no questions and if they ask a question that has already been asked, I automatically go to the next slide, which gives them another tally — they HATE that!! I really never end up telling the classes who won, usually I complete this activity on a Friday so they forget about it by Monday.

On the board I write the following and fill in important clues as the students guess them. I let them know when they’ve completed a category. Also, off to the side I keep a tally of slides and each class so they can see how the other classes did!





Here is an example of one of the pictures I used with my students this week. I got the picture from MSNBC Photos of the Week


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