Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 6, Number 1, Spring 2011
Developing Civic-Mindedness in the Intermediate Grades: A Community-based Inquiry Project
Ji Ji Lawley
University of Montevallo
The purpose of this study was to use the inquiry process to engage fifth grade students in a community-based project that would educate them about what it means to be a civic-minded citizen. While the unique nature of any community-based project prevents exact replication of the project in another context, the inquiry process itself and the overall positive results are worthy of consideration by other teachers and teacher educators who hope to develop civic-minded citizens in the intermediate grades. This article will describe the context in which the project was implemented, the inquiry process that unfolded in one fifth grade classroom, and the lessons that were learned by all involved. The project suggests that if students are to become active citizens for the future, then they must be guided through discussion, research, and service learning experiences. Most importantly, this project seems to indicate that students may become more civic-minded when they are provided with authentic opportunities to participate in meaningful citizenship activities within their own communities.