Our pedagogy

All Whybricks lessons employ inquiry-based pedagogy designed to help teachers transfer agency over learning to students. This approach transforms each lesson into an investigative learning journey. 

Each Whybricks investigation dives into an interesting ‘why’ question, exploring different aspects of physical science and engineering. Through these investigations, students will:

  • encounter facts (for example, Newton’s second law is mathematically expressed as F=ma),
  • exercise a scientific mindset (for example, making observations by answering ‘what do you notice?’ and developing questions by considering ‘what do you wonder?’),
  • participate in scientific and engineering practices (for example, planning and carrying out an experiment or developing and iterating a design), and
  • make real-world connections between the world around them and the material they are learning.

Try asking 10 students this question:

Why do people use wheelbarrows?

You will likely end up with 10 versions of the answer “because it makes it easier.”  Your students are right, of course! Your students already know a lot about how the world works. They know that when they let something go, it falls down, for example. What they might not know, or may not be able to articulate, is why these things are true.

Now imagine the conversation again…

Why do people use wheelbarrows?

Student: It makes it easier.
Teacher: It makes what easier?
Student: Doing… the work. You know, carrying heavy stuff, or big stuff.
Teacher: But, why?

The Whybricks investigations

Every Whybricks investigation is slightly different. Each investigation explores different physical science and engineering topics. The layout and activities of each differ to best enable meaningful learning to be achieved. There is no set order in which the investigations should be explored and no wrong-way of adjusting an investigation to suit your students or curriculum.

Each Whybricks investigation is intended to be student-centred and led. Supported by a teacher’s guide, the bulk of the Whybricks educational resources are all student materials, designed for independent use by students.

The teacher guides offer overview information plus per-investigation support for educators to get the most out of each lesson. For each Whybricks investigation you will find teacher notes specific to the investigation that include:

  • An overview of the investigation
  • A list of the topics covered
  • A list of the WOW sheets needed (both those explicitly noted in the student Whysheet plus any additional recommendations)
  • Recommendations for running the investigation
  • Additional notes specific to the investigation (including sample answers to specific Whysheet questions)

The core of each lesson is comprised of the three types of interrelated printable student materials; the Whysheets, the Notice and Wonder sheets, and the WOW sheets.

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The core of each Whybricks investigation is its Whysheet. Much more than a worksheet, a Whysheet is the students’ (and educators’) guide for the investigation. 

The Whysheets, along with the Notice and Wonder sheets, are designed to capture learning evidence as it happens during the investigation (rather than be a ‘now that you have finished everything, write in the correct answer’ style worksheet). Encouraging students to view the Whysheet as their tool to help them through the investigation will help them take ownership over their learning.

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Notice and Wonder sheets

The Notice and Wonder sheets are templates designed to work alongside any Whybricks investigation. Throughout the investigation, these sheets offer places for students to:

  • note observations (‘I notice . . .’ )
  • capture questions (‘I wonder . . .’ )
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WOW sheets

Each WOW sheet contains information about a specific topic or fact. The WOW sheets help students to discover and understand key information, enabling them to apply what they learn back into the investigation.

Examples of the content covered in WOW sheets includes definitions of terms (What is mass?), explanations of facts (Newton’s third law), and formulas in context (calculating acceleration).


Free downloadable resources

Kickoff your exploration of physical science and engineering with the free Whybricks But, Why? lesson set. Introduce your students to key physics concepts including Gravity, Scientific inquiry, and more in a hands-on and engaging way!

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