Course overview

The INQUIRE training course at Kew uses the unique resources and expertise of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Teachers and educators will be able to recognise and develop inquiry based activities and resources that they can use in the classroom or on a visit to a ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ (LOtC) site such as a botanic garden, reserve, arboretum, environmental education centre or natural habitat.

Using the topics of Climate Change, the rich diversity of plants and the need for plant and habitat conservation, participants will be able to build their skills and expertise to deliver teaching on these topics to upper primary and lower secondary students.

There will be opportunities to see, plan new and implement a range of innovative activities with the support of Kew staff. A number of enrichment talks, tours, demonstrations and resources will be provided, along with access to excellent sources of further information. These will help build subject knowledge and enhance teaching.

The new Kew 2012/13 course is now open for registration.

To find out more about this course read the INQUIRE at Kew information leaflet.

If you would like to enroll on the 2012/2013 course, please contact Gail Bromley, or Sue Hunt,



The reasons for biodiversity loss and climate change are many and complex and not least due to the increasing demand for energy – the world’s population is set to rise from 6 billion now to possibly 10 billion people by the end of this century. With this demand for energy comes the release of greenhouse gasses. In February, 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted "If we keep emitting greenhouse gases at current rates we will see bigger changes this century than we did in the previous century. The amount of warming will depend on choices human beings make". INQUIRE courses can support pupils to make choices that will mitigate climate change and take action for biodiversity.

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Through using an inquiry-based approach pupils become the producers of ideas. They are encouraged to participate and become engaged with learning through collaborative learning activities, peer teaching, projects and classroom talk that require multiple levels of thinking. They create new ideas and materials through projects, usually talk aloud about the way they derived an answer and take the initiative to interact with teachers and peers. There’s no one way to do IBSE, it’s more about creating an environment where all participants – teachers and pupils – are co‐learners in the educational journey. Click below to find a variety of IBSE techniques.

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INQUIRE conference

The INQUIRE conference was held on 9th and 10th July 2013 at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 124 delegates from 13 countries gathered to discuss the findings of this extraordinary three year project. Follow the link to read a summary of the conference conclusions.

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Benefits for educators

Make your garden more relevant to teachers and students through providing them with real world experiences using IBSE techniques. Learn a variety of methods to assess your impact and become a reflective practitioner.


This course is going to transform my teaching!

Benefits for teachers

By participating on an INQUIRE course you will gain skills in IBSE teaching, motivate your students, increase the self-confidence of girls to study science, provide pupils with real world experiences, gain support from a leading scientific institution and gain access to a whole range of IBSE resources.


I found the activities on the first day of the course very stimulating

INQUIRE Partners

The INQUIRE course in the UK has been developed by the following organisation


Latest discussions View all discussions

16/10/13 | London

Climate change is happening- The IPCC’s fifth report

IPCC report published in September reveals that, due to human activity, average global temperatures are at their highest for 1400 years. It is already affecting the planet and it's only going to get worse. With the report suffering backlash from still unconvinced critics, how are the public to know what to believe?



View all resources

Go to our resource section for plenty of ideas on how to teach IBSE. We’ve searched through many books, education packs and websites to find resources relevant for teaching in botanic gardens and other informal education settings.

INQUIRE NEWS See all news

17/11/15 | Coimbra

Coimbra team publishes chapter in IBSE book

Members of the portuguese team who led INQUIRE project on the Botanical Garden of Coimbra University published the chapter "Advantages of Science Education Outdoors through IBSE Methodology" in IBSE book.


Case Studies

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case study edinbrugh

case study edinbrugh description short

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Polls View previous polls

What is the biggest barrier to implementing IBSE in your practice?

Concern that I might lose control over the class during IBSE activities
Knowing which questions to ask to facilitate the IBSE activity
Changing from a didactic approach to an inquiry-based approach
Concern that the students will not be able to carry out the IBSE activities
Lack of confidence in delivering IBSE



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