You should definitely check out the [url=http://static.nsta.org/files/ss1302_10.pdf]NSTA Teacher’s Toolkit article on differentiating inquiry[/url]. It’s a great general resource about differentiated instruction, and walks through a differentiated inquiry on density. For a more general overview of differentiated instruction, check out [url=https://study.com/blog/how-to-teach-students-with-different-learning-abilities.html]How to Teach Students with Different Learning Abilities[/url].
For me, I think the open-ended nature of inquiry and project-based learning invites unique and diverse questions and solutions, making them ideal for differentiated instruction. Here are some specifics about how I differentiate instruction in inquiries:
-Create a lab report checklist or rubric that students can come back to over multiple labs. This way you and students can focus on growth over time which is the essence of differentiated instruction.
-Provide various levels of scaffolding for authentic inquiry tasks. Throughout all labs there are some common reasoning tasks that can be tacked on to increase difficulty and make inquiry more authentic. Here they are, in the form of prompts:
[i]What generalizations can you make about your results? Explain the limits of those generalizations. What variables were controlled in this experiment? How do your results differ from other groups’ results? Construct an argument for or against your hypothesis using your results from the lab.[/i]
For any of the above questions you can provide the level of guidance appropriate to students’ needs. For example, here’s how you might differentiate math instruction in the results section of a lab or project report (from low to high difficulty). You can set up a table for students, or have them format their own data (same for graphs). For cases where you’re dealing with continuous data sets, have your advanced students draw a line of best fit and find the equation relating the independent and dependent variables.