GID Framework

Why GID?

Inquiry is woven into the language of the national standards in each content area from the Common Core Language Arts and Mathematics, to Next Generation Science and C3 Social Studies.


Teachers K-12 are being asked to use inquiry methods, yet few know how. Guided Inquiry Design® is a roadmap to successful inquiry based learning. It was built from what we know about how students learn within an information rich context. Guided Inquiry Design® puts the research into a practical teacher and student friendly model where teachers become instructional designers and students ask great questions to learn.

Guided Inquiry Design® Framework

All GID Icons and Framework Graphics are © Copyrighted materials and are not to be used without prior written permission.

The process you see here is used in classrooms by teachers and students.
It serves as…

1. The educator’s pathway to designing inquiry learning.
2. The student’s model for “how I learn.”

Click on the color bars to reveal three bullet points describing the main objectives for engaging students in each phase.

The icons represent the nuances of each phase.

Open represented as an open circle. In GID we open to a concept to start with wonder and curiosity.

Immerse looks like ripples in a pool of water. Time spent in this phase ripples into the success of later phases of inquiry.

Explore is an explosion. Because of the emotional response students experience of information overload in that phase, the icon reminds us to slow down and pay attention to students’ emotions and connections to their own interests.

Identify is the turning point of the inquiry signified by the bending arrow into a dot.

Gather is when students are out and back. Students move from resources to their notes and engage in the processing of each resource to understand their question.

Create is the shape of a hexagon with many shades which indicates a reforming of understanding as students create new meaning through the information they have found.

Share is a talk bubble as students share their learning with their inquiry community and the wider world.

Evaluate is a think bubble because students not only reflect all the way through the GID process, but taking time to reflect at the end helps them become more aware of how they learned, an important skill for today’s learners.


GID is a linear looking process since the process occurs naturally across time. Although each phase doesn’t completely stand alone, one phase overlaps with the next in a flow of connected learning experiences. This helps teachers to design inquiry based learning as it will occur in their classrooms day by day, across time.



• Invitation to inquiry
• Open minds
• Stimulate curiosity


• Build background knowledge
• Connect to content
• Discover interesting ideas

– As a community


• Explore interesting ideas
• Look around
• Dip in


• Pause and ponder
• Identify inquiry question
• Decide direction


• Gather important information
• Go broad
• Go deep


• Reflect on learning
• Go beyond facts to make meaning
• Create to communicate


• Learn from each other
• Share learning
• Tell your story


• Evaluate achievement of learning goals
• Reflect on content
• Reflect on process

The Guided Inquiry Design®  Inquiry Tools

Guided Inquiry Design® is a complete instructional design model featuring the GID process framework and the Inquiry Tools.

Complete and regular use of the GID Inquiry Tools ensures that all students are engaged in the most productive thinking and tasks during each phase of the inquiry process.

The tools are simple in form, yet complex in net result.  

GID Inquiry Tools
      • increase student talk and critical thinking,
      • include writing with a purpose and for self reflection,
      • leverage collaboration for resource sharing, ideation, and creation,
      • use charts to visualize and support decision making,
      • teach the importance of maintaining working bibliography throughout the research process
      • Place a strong value on personal learning in concert with a community


Download a Free PDF of the Inquiry Tools

The Inquiry Tools are a core component of Guided Inquiry Design®.
The Inquiry Tools are embedded in the process at opportune times to support student learning at each step of the way. (See below for when the tools are used in the GID process)




































Tools as a Feedback Loop of Formative Assessments – Student artifacts from the Inquiry Tools also provide timely formative assessment data to those facilitating the GID process.  

Student artifacts are used to drive critical instructional decision making “on the run” in the fluid and flexible GID process. Critical decisions for success of inquiry such as, how long to stay in Explore, when to support the Identify phase, and so on, are grounded in observations of students and the concrete feedback loop provided by the Inquiry Tools.


The 6 C’s for Constructing Understanding

The Kuhlthau studies identified a number of strategies that students used to work through the Information Search Process.

These were named the 6 C’s of Construction (Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century p 49.).

Later, the GID Inquiry Tools were designed from the 6 C’s for efficient facilitation of the research process and to support students in the challenges inherent in knowledge construction while using a variety of sources of information.

Download a Free PDF of The 6 C’s