• Trevor Day School

Inquiry-Based Learning

Students at Trevor acquire a deep understanding of the subjects they study by engaging in investigations, activities, and highly contextualized discussions and lessons. Rather than reciting facts or following a predetermined path to a solution, students construct knowledge by grappling with essential questions and real-world concepts. In this process, the teacher acts as a guide and a facilitator, encouraging higher-order thinking and providing information and scaffolding as needed. This is inquiry-based learning at Trevor, and students who are educated this way develop lifelong processes, habits of mind, and love for learning that serves them into college and beyond.
Tracking routes of early explorers on an interactive map. Employing student-centered discussions in literature and research-backed debate in history. Infusing early childhood mathematics with meaning through Cuisenaire rods. Designing an independent study course around hands-on neuroscience research. Putting problem-solving at the center of algebra, so that students reflect and build on what they have learned before.  

This is inquiry-based learning at its best.

Why is inquiry-based learning (IBL) so effective?

  • IBL stresses content mastery above memorization.
  • IBL develops a capacity to construct meaning through context, analysis, and synthesis.
  • IBL asks students to be active participants and develop ownership of their own learning.
  • IBL accesses expert educators, both in and out of the classroom.
  • IBL transcends the classroom for real-world perspective.
  • IBL is a collaborative learning style that strengthens each individual's knowledge and understanding.
  • IBL empowers natural curiosity and inspires a joy for learning.

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What are some examples of inquiry-based learning at Trevor?

    A Kindergarten teacher, noticing a group of students mesmerized by a buttefly in Central Park, pauses their play to incorporate their curiosity into a study of symmetry. “How is a buttefly like the letter W? Or our faces?” “Where else can we find symmetry in nature?” 

    5th graders learn about the electoral college through a hands-on election that is meaningful to them—the race for Lower School Dragon Mascot. In 2016, students’ interest turned to third-party candidates, and teachers responded to their curiosity through added time devoted to this topic. Third-party candidate “Sunny” won in a landslide!

    In Grades 7 & 8 Digital Art & Coding, "The Bread & Jam Algorithm” is a demonstration of the underlying logic of programming. Instead of using computers, however, the teacher is actually programmed by the class. It is always funny, sometimes messy, and very engaging for the student programmers turned sandwich makers.

    In Grade 9 Math, relatable problems sets follow skill acquisition, to help ensure students are flexible and adept problem-solvers. Students use algebra to determine how long it would take for Noah Syndergaard’s pitch to reach home base, or ascertain the school's square footage based on a page of blueprint.

    What new questions arise when we shift the focus to the untold stories of children in history? Trevor’s new digital humanities course tackles that question and attempts to remedy the archival absence of children in the history of NYC—by taking a deeper and more nuanced dive into historical big data.
“A teacher that does well at Trevor is the teacher who asks the question at the beginning of class and doesn’t need to get to a single answer by the end of class; the teacher who can spark lively debate without saying you have to arrive at a certain conclusion.”
-Trevor student
We wanted something different – not just memorizing facts, but really learning how to ask questions and find answers. -Trevor parent

List of 3 items.

  • Trevor Day School

  • Nursery - 5

  • 6 - 12

List of 3 items.

  • New York, NY

  • 1 W 88th St - 212.426.3300

  • 312 E 95th St - 212.426.3360