Active Learning on

Do you remember when … we did an Enquiry?
Using the PowerPoint sequence

This PowerPoint is designed to jog students’ memories of the enquiry process prior to them undertaking a new section of work. It uses the Riccall skeletons activity to provide an example but its focus is on the enquiry process itself so that students can apply this to their next topic. This is very much about making sure that learning is visible so that it can be re-used in other contexts.


Note: This should be read in conjunction with the Developing Enquiry Skills section of this website [ click here ] and with the activity The Riccall Mystery – how do we carry out historical enquiries? [ click here ].


A formatted version of this activity should print from your browser (omitting this support section).

Or, a WORD version and accompanying PowerPoint can be downloaded:

  • For the Word file [ click here ]
  • For the PowerPoint – note, it’s a big file (2.4MB) [ click here ]
  • See a printed handout of the PowerPoint [ click here ]

Using the PowerPoint

If students are to use the Enquiry process effectively and independently (whether at KS2, KS3, GCSE or A level) they need to be able to describe the process explicitly. ‘We start with …’, ‘then we …’ etc. Initial teaching should therefore focus on introducing and clarifying the process itself, using activities such as The Riccall Mystery where understanding the process is the main objective, rather than the process being hidden behind the content.

Having begun to understand how to go about an enquiry, students will still need to remind themselves of this process before they undertake their next piece of work. This PowerPoint sequence (or your own version of it) is therefore intended to be used as an introduction to the next enquiry in order to prompt memory of the process.

It’s not simply to be shown but to be used inter-actively with your class. As you move through the sequence of slides ask (depending on what’s appropriate) ‘what did you do next?’ ‘what kinds of questions did you ask?’ ‘what words did you use?’ – so that students have to think back to what they did before. Then when the answers come up, they confirm their memories of what they’d done. This is all about making learning visible and explicit so it can be re-used in other contexts.

For your own preparation, you can print off a copy of the PowerPoint in ‘handout’ format on which to make your own notes – in order for this to work we have increased the number of slides and kept the number of ‘overlays’ to a minimum, otherwise your printed out slides would have too much stuff on them to be readable.


While this PowerPoint uses the Riccall activity as an example, this doesn’t mean that it’s not useful if you haven’t done that activity. You could take this model and create your own version, applying it to your own content and adding photos of your own students to replace our photographs of PGCE trainees. It may also be a useful stimulus for your department in thinking about how you keep the idea of the Enquiry process alive across your courses.


Constructive feedback is always welcome, particularly anything that will help other teachers.

Enquiry Section

Enquiry Skills

Importance of Enquiry

Enquiry and KS3

Enquiry at GCSE & A Level

Enquiry at Sites & Museums


Downloads Plus

Download the entire ‘Enquiry’ discussion (PDF)

Download ‘Enquiry & Sense of Period’ Article

Independent Learning at A level

Flipped Learning and Independent Study: a 1970s Forerunner?



Do you remember when … we did an enquiry?

Vocabulary Cards

Question Dice