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Inquiry Project – Planning & Reflection

by Neil Finney


My topic is: Chinese Immigrants and the Building of the Canadian Pacific Railway (Grade 8 Canadian History)

My “rich” questions to explore and research are:

(1) Why might the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway be so important that poor treatment of Chinese immigrants was allowed (and encouraged)?

(2) How can we, as Canadians today, prevent abuse and inequality towards immigrants in our society from taking place?

(3) What could students today do to recognize and honour the incredible (and traumatic) story of Chinese immigrants used during the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway?

My presentation choice (from the multiple intelligence choice board) is:
- a television news broadcast

Sources (i.e. books, websites) I will use to research on my topic are:



(1)What went well (in your presentation and/or when researching)?

(2)How can you improve for your next inquiry project?

(3)What did you learn from this inquiry?

*Sample for teacher guidance





















During Neilʼs 9 years of teaching experience, he has taught in London, England; Ontario; public and private schools; elementary and secondary; junior; intermediate; core french; developmental skills; and now junior gifted (grades 4,5,6). He is a Reading Specialist that has been incorporating technology in his practice consistently throughout his career. Neil has recently published his first book entitled “Ignite. Incite. Inspire.” – Examining 21st Century Issues in Education, which is a collection of teaching articles and posts written from January to December 2011.

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  • Neil Finney

    Voicethread and screen cast are great ideas for a presentation format. The other thing that might be cool is having this template used as the content of a Prezi. You could run a student-conference where they show you their Prezi (which is basically an online slideshow of their rich questions, research notes and main points) and you can provide instant feedback to them prior to the finished final product. What do you think?

    • Janet Lee

      Absolutely, Neil. Student led conferences can be intimidating for students. Using a Prezi could really help students to discuss their ideas in an organized manner. I might explore how other students can provide each other with effective feedback this way.

  • Janet Lee

    So glad you like this format, Mirela! I agree about rich questions driving the inquiry. Students feel more in control of their learning and as a result usually push the results well beyond our expectations.

  • donna jenner

    I like the flow chart style of format to formulate the questions, sources for research but than also the reflection piece.

    • Julia

      The flowchart certainly provides structure to the project. I’m glad you found this post useful!