Tool IB-1: Exploring the benefits of IBL

For this tool you will need the following resources:

  • IB-1 PowerPoint
  • Handout: Two approaches to teaching the corrosion of metals

The aim of this tool is to help the group explore the learning benefits that might be supported by the IBL download_powerpointapproach. The tool involves a discussion activity in which the group examine two teaching approaches in the same content area. One is based around an IBL approach, the other a more ‘traditional’ one. The tool is most suited to teachers of science, although many of the issues would also apply in mathematics.

teamworkBegin by discussing with the teachers the characteristics of teaching environments that use IBL approaches. Refer back to ‘Tool IA-1: Characterising an IBL classroom’ if this has been completed previously. If not, present the generally accepted view that in such environments some or all of the following will be seen:

  • Student led inquiry
  • Tackling unstructured problems
  • Learning concepts through IBL
  • Questioning that promotes reasoning
  • Students working collaboratively
  • Building on what students already know
  • Self and peer assessment


In the light of this characterisation of IBL, ask the teachers to consider the two outline approaches to teaching the corrosion of metals in the Handout: Two approaches to teaching the corrosion of metals  and then to complete the questions on the handout.


Discuss the outcomes from considering the two sequences with the whole group of teachers. In addition to the characteristics listed, encourage them to think about how far the IBL approach might help to stimulate curiosity and serve as a vehicle for teaching about how scientists work.

The challenges associated with the second sequence may be felt to be too great for some, even if they can see benefits. If so, encourage teachers to think initially about ways of moving their practice in small ways to include more aspects of IBL. Ask them to consider lessons they will be teaching in the near future and make modifications designed to foster more inquiry. Where possible, ask all teachers to report back to the group  on lessons where they have increased their use of IBL approaches.