Here’s Dan Meyer talking about the way in which we can really involve learners in their maths. I see absolutely no reason not to apply the same principles in all areas of the curriculum. Broken down, Meyer advocates an approach that might look a little bit like this:
So..ask the shortest question you can so that the sub-questions are drawn out by the learners in their discussions. Then let the students build the problem.
DRAW ON PRIOR LEARNING: What do we already know that will help us with this problem?
DIVERGENT THINKING & IDEAS GENERATION: What don’t we know that we need to know?
CONVERGENT THINKING & PRIORITISATION: From all the information we have, what do is going to really help us in solving the problem?
IDENTIFICATION: What IS the problem we need to solve?
Oh, and then get them to do it. Which they will be eager to because it’s now THEIR problem to solve.