Skip to content Skip to navigation

Elementary Inquiry Summer Institute: Inquiry For the Elementary Classroom

July 30, 2020 to July 31, 2020

National Council for the Social Studies and inquirED are hosting the Elementary Inquiry Summer Institute (EISI) in Evanston, IL. Attendees should expect a dynamic, two-day exploration of the tools and strategies that educators need to bring inquiry to life in their classrooms and schools. Workshops and sessions will address key inquiry concepts such as generating questions and planning inquiries, facilitating student-led investigations, and designing and implementing informed action projects. 

What’s different about the Elementary Inquiry Summer Institute?

  • Designed for Elementary Educators

So many inquiry programs focus on high school instruction. But what’s it like to use inquiry with a first-grader who is just learning to read? A third-grader who struggles during group work? Or a sixth-grader who is just gaining the confidence to speak in class?  EISI provides the teacher-tested strategies and tools to inspire your elementary students with inquiry-based socials studies.

  • A Practice-Based Approach

Inquiry is more than theory. It’s daily practice. The EISI will help educators implement and support the day-to-day practice of inquiry. Topics will include: How do you generate questions with students during a classroom lesson?  How do you facilitate group work strategies that sustain an inquiry? How can you guide students through the design cycle of an informed action project?

View Sample Agenda Here

Who should attend:

This event is open to teachers, instructional leaders, and administrators who are interested in how to practice inquiry in elementary social studies classrooms.

Event cost:

  • $499 per person (NCSS Members)
  • $599 nonmembers (includes a 1-year online NCSS membership)

Lunch included both days

All institute attendees will receive the following bonus materials:

  • A six-month subscription to Inquiry Journeys K-6 social studies curriculum.
  • inquirED’s Field Guide to Inquiry full of practical strategies and tools.
  • Access to follow-up cohort-based webinars 
  • Fee-based Graduate credit (TBD)




Host Location

Baker Demonstration School, Wilmette, IL

For 100 years Baker has been a leader in innovative programs for elementary students. Find out more at

Wilmette (Evanston area) is only 12 miles north of Downtown Chicago, which is accessible by the CTA “L” Trains and Metra commuter rails. Evanston is a vibrant community and the home of Northwestern University. It has a thriving art and dining scene as well as a number of lakeside beaches and recreation areas. For more information about the institute location visit:

Hotel Accommodations

Travel and hotel are not included in registration. Participants are responsible for making their own travel and hotel arrangements. The Evanston area has many lodging options available to suit your schedule and budget needs – especially if you are planning an extended stay in the area for sightseeing or other activities after the Institute. NCSS has arranged a courtesy room block for our group at the following hotels, which includes breakfast* for overnight guests. 

Hilton Garden Inn Chicago North Shore/Evanston
1818 Maple Ave
Evanston, IL 60201

Rate ends: June 29, 2020


*Breakfast vouchers, comp wifi, and overnight parking included

Hilton Orrington/Evanston
1710 Orrington Ave
Evanston, IL 60201

Rate ends: June 29, 2020


*One breakfast voucher, comp wifi, and valet parking included

Hyatt House Chicago Evanston
1515 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60201

$150.00-$170.00/night based on occupancy
Rate ends: July 1, 2020


Group Code: G-GBDG

*Breakfast is included


The following keynote presenters are confirmed:

Tina L. Heafner, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Tina's teaching and research focus on effective practices in social studies education such as professional development schools, mentoring and coaching, technology integration, mobile technologies, content literacy development, and cultural relevance. Other research interests include policy and curriculum issues in social studies and content-based online teaching and learning. Publications include eight co-authored books including titles such as: Beginning Inquiry: Short Texts for Inexperienced Readers, Seeds of Inquiry: Using Short Texts to Enhance Students Comprehension of World History, Seeds of Inquiry: Using Short Texts to Enhance Students Comprehension of U.S. History, Targeted Vocabulary Instruction in Secondary Social Studies, Strategic Reading in U.S. History, and Strategic Reading in World History, and four edited books including Exploring Teacher Education Programs and Online Learning Tools: Innovations in Teacher Preparation. She has served as the 2019-2020 National Council for the Social Studies President.


Shanti Elangovan, Founder & CEO, inquirED

After obtaining an M.Ed from Columbia University, Shanti Elangovan moved from classroom teacher to coach to curriculum director. Eager to help educational organizations scale their impact, she went on to earn an MBA. Shanti quickly put those skills to work by envisioning and implementing strategies to grow National Center for Teacher Residencies’ impact. In 2017 Shanti founded inquirED to scale the use and impact of inquiry-based learning, a powerful teaching pedagogy that prepares students for the 21st century.


Session Facilitators:

Anne Matz

Anne has over thirty years of experience in education as a teacher, principal, staff developer, and consultant in teacher preparation.  Her belief in the impact of inquiry-based learning comes from her years in the classroom and her leadership of an International Baccalaureate World School.  Anne holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion from Carleton College and a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University of Chicago as well as a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from DePaul University.


Elisabeth Ventling Simon

Elisabeth has been working in public education since 2002.  Frustrated by the idea that creativity and curiosity were second to standardized test prep, she was excited to transition her teaching practice to project-based learning.  As her district transitioned to a full project-based learning model, Elisabeth began supporting other teachers as an instructional coach and curriculum and professional development designer.



Emerie W Lukas

Since earning her Masters in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University in 2010, Emerie has taught in South Korea, Florida, and Ohio. During that time, she designed and implemented project-based curricula focusing on the development of lifelong communication skills such as critique, presentation, conflict resolution, collaboration, and writing. Her teaching strategies in these realms have been shared across the US. 



Sarah Milo Hoskow

Sarah has a diverse range of teaching experience, from the traditional to the progressive. She’s been a lead teacher in Early Childhood and Upper Elementary classrooms, teaching in Washington State, California, Illinois and in Santiago, Chile. More recently, Sarah has focused on mentoring pre-service teachers both in her own classroom as well as through work with Northwestern University.



Lucy Barnet

Lucy spent over 9 years teaching in elementary classrooms ranging from 1st through 5th grades, in Chicago and in Santiago, Chile, predominantly working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations. More recently, she worked as a facilitator, supervisor of new teachers, and adjunct professor at the Erikson Institute.



Martin Andrews

Martin has taught for 20 years at the K-12 and college levels. As a Social Studies and Latin teacher in Ohio, he developed narrative-based middle school Latin and high school World History curricula. After earning an MFA in Theatre, Martin co-founded Working Group Theatre, helping to create over 15 original plays to educate children and adults. His work has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Metlife Foundation, and others.




Institute Location:

Baker Demonstration School
201 Sheridan Rd
Wilmette, IL 60091