Education Begins with Touching Students' Curiosity

Inquiry-based learning and STEM project-based learning are teaching methods that are grounded in the philosophy of John Dewey who believed that education begins with touching students’ curiosity. In the inquiry-based learning method, students’ questions and curiosity form the central part of the curriculum. Students are encouraged to ask questions on topics they are interested in to make their discoveries (Kessler & Galvan, 2007) Hint: this is why HUB21 tutors interact and ask questions to their students during their sessions! In this learning process, it is important to allow students to make discoveries that have real-life applications. Project-based learning is an instructional approach that takes advantage of student-directed inquiry processes to develop a product that has real-life connections and applications (Johnson, & Lamb, 2007). In STEM project-based learning, students have to organize their work, materials, individual duties and manage their own time. The teacher is only the facilitator. As a result, in STEM project-based learning, students take charge of their own learning and develop collaboration skills. Hint: At HUB21 Kolektif Workshops, students work as groups and learn how important it is to collaborate to complete a project and learn new skills at the same time

Inquiry-based learning approaches are driven by the questions that students care about the most. The role of the tutors is to guide the students to find answers to their questions and encourage them to ask new ones. In this way, each question will open the door to a new question, and the answers we find will lead us to the scientific objectives of the day. Hint: Do you remember the last workshop’s question? We asked our students to find an answer for ‘Why do people use grabbers to pick up trash?’ It seems like a simple question but in the end, they discovered physics rules that run the world by following a question series. 

In STEM project-based learning students should solve problems/projects that are from real lives and have real-life applications, students must investigate, record, analyze and present their findings. And this leads students to a greater degree of freedom to discuss, test, and create their solutions. PBL also involves engineering design principles (problem identification, research, ideation, analysis of ideas, testing and refinement, etc.) The use of engineering in solving real-world problems provides students with a great opportunity to use their mathematics, science, and technology knowledge to illustrate concepts. (Morgan, Moon, & Barroso, 2008) Hint: As for the same question we asked for the grabber usage, we aimed to help students make connections with real-world problems and increase their engagement with the project. And also, one of our tutors Pınar took this note from her sessions ‘’when we use real-life examples, even abstract topics become more clear and after some point, students try to find their own real-life examples in order to express their concept knowledge to us.’’

As you can see, at HUB21, we combine both of these learning approaches to reach the best learning outcomes. We appreciate that the requirements for a successful career in the 21st century are different than they were in the 20th century. With rapidly changing technological advances and new problems being faced daily, we must prepare students for jobs that do not even exist today. Therefore, students must be equipped with problem-solving skills that enable them to find solutions by following steps that they built regardless of the specific problem they face. By providing a great structure for approaching complex problems while encouraging creativity in achieving project goals with the power of the ability to ask further questions and collaboration, the combination of inquiry-based learning and STEM PBL helps us to solve this problem which traditional educational methods couldn’t. This learning environment allows students to step out of their comfort zone and learn from their mistakes safely. Additionally, integration of these different approaches to the education journey emphasizes 21st-century skills, such as teamwork, critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving, technology literacy skills that will be important to all students regardless of their future career goals. (Bell,2010)

Team Hub21 


Bell, S. (2010). Project-based learning for the 21st century: Skills for the future. The Clearing House, 83, 39-43.

Johnson, L., & Lamb, A. (2007). Project, problem, and inquiry-based learning. Retrieved from

Kessler, J.H., & Galvan, P.M.(2007). Inquiry in action: Investigating matter through inquiry.

Morgan, J. R., Moon, A. M., & Barroso, L. R. (2008). Designing engineering project-based learning. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers