Inspired Inquiry


Teaching with inquiry is about activating young people’s curiosity and developing their skills as critical thinkers and problem solvers. It has been on the rise for the past years, thanks to the efforts of the C3teachers, the Center for Inspired Teaching, InspirEd, the Stanford History Education Group and other inquiry-focused institutions.


But it is still hard to do. Teachers shy away from inquiry because the lessons can seem like they are not going to cover core material, they are far less directed and more discussion-based, and finding good primary resources and guides to lead effective inquiry-based lessons can be hard. We have seen that creating a local learning community helps to accelerate this practice.

Making our city a community of inspired inquiry.


We started as a network committed to supporting teachers in teaching with inquiry. We extended our work to enable collaborations that create inquiry-based lesson plans leveraging the resources and wisdom of our local museums and cultural institutions. These inquiries are specifically geared to encouraging civic growth, while falling into the framework of state standards.  These are place-based, civic-learning focused inquiries. Through the Collaborative infrastructure of our Mighty Network, we want to help communities become incubators of inspired inquiry.  


Our inaugural cohort of teaching fellows spent the summer working with museums in Kansas City to create model inquiries covering key subject areas across the curriculum. We encourage you to use them directly, but also to use them as an inspiration to create similar inquiries with museum resources.

world history
6-8 grade

How does where you live influence how you live?

This inquiry, designed by a Middle School teacher and a contemporary art museum, leads students through an investigation of Ancient Mesopotamia to have them consider the importance geography had on its development and how this is relevant to them today. It is important to note that these characteristics are relevant to all River Valley Civilizations, and these questions could be asked of Egypt, India, and China as well.

Kemper Museum
Google Doc
govt/us history
9-12 grade

How much power does a President actually have?

This inquiry, designed by a high school teacher and a Presidential Library, leads students through an investigation of presidential power and how that power has changed over time by exploring the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, as well as famous executive orders and Supreme Court cases during the Presidency of Harry S Truman.

Truman Presidential Museum & Library
Google Doc
US History
6-8 Grade

What is Cultural Identity and Why is it Important?

This inquiry, designed by a high school teacher in partnership with the Public Library, leads students through an investigation of Chicano culture, identity, history, and resistance to discrimination and cultural assimilation. By exploring the compelling questions about the importance of cultural identity students will consider their own cultural identity and then in turn, analyze Chicano culture in America. Students will investigate the conditions facing Mexican-Americans from the time of the Mexican-American War (1848) through the 1960s.

Guadalupe School
Google Doc
6-8 Grade

Why Do People Fight?

This inquiry, designed by a high school teacher and a local history society, leads students through an investigation of the causes of the American Civil War through a study of national and local (Jackson County, MO) history. Students will make connections between the current issue of removing Confederate statues to the history of the division between slave and free-soil states prior to the Civil War.

Google Doc

Why Should 18-Year-Olds Vote?

This inquiry, designed by a high school teacher in partnership with the Dole Institute of Politics, leads students through an investigation of how 18-year-olds were given this right during a time in history where they were being asked to fight and die for their country yet were unable to elect the people who were deciding to make them do so.

Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics
Google Doc

What's in a name?

This inquiry, designed by a middle school teacher and the local history society, leads students through an investigation of the history of the Fort Osage School District, how it got its name and why this is important to them today given the social and political climate around the use of Native American names and symbols.

Fort Osage School District Virtual Museum
Google Doc

How Engaging With Inquiry Advances Learning:


Flexibility allows adaptation of source material to specific group of learners


Varied sources help students understand others’ perspectives and bridge across differences.


Local museum resources help students connect historical topics to their local community and current issues.


Inquiry encourages young people to ask questions, find answers, and work with sources


Inquiries include an action component that allows students to engage in their community.


Questions touch on core concepts of democracy, allowing students to learn civic content through history.


We are committed to ensuring that all young people grow up as empathetic critical thinkers so that they can thrive in, contribute to our complex and rapidly changing world. This has three pillars:

Inspired Inquiry


Placed Based Learning


Civic Learning Activities