Social Inquiry Planner

About this tool

About this tool

Why have we built this tool?

This online interactive tool has been developed to help teachers and students explore and engage in the suggested social inquiry approach that has been developed as part of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). You can read more about this here.

The interactive tool is designed to be used between levels 1-8 and has been made as flexible as possible in order to allow the widest range of applications and uses in social inquiry situations.

One of the key purposes of the new suggested social inquiry approach is to re-enforce the relationships and inter-dependencies of the questions students should be asking as components of any social inquiry project. This tool is based on that idea, and seeks to promote the concepts that the social inquiry process:

  • has no single 'correct' or 'definitive' approach
  • is based on reflection and evaluation
  • does not need to have a definitive 'start' and 'end' point
  • should not be treated as having a fixed number of steps
  • becomes more informative and useful the more times any individual aspect is revisited and revised.

With this in mind the tool allows the user to begin anywhere they choose and to revisit any aspect as often as they like. It allows an inquiry process to be saved and copied at any point and the copy to diverge down a different path. It also allows an inquiry at any stage to be shared with other users, and for those other users to peruse the original ideas in a different direction.

You are encouraged to plan and adapt the sequence, direction, and nature of a social inquiry to most effectively meet the needs of your own students, community, and school programme, and this interactive tool has been designed to support that as best as possible.

How to use the Interactive Planner

An account lets you store the work you create in the process of developing a social inquiry planner. Once your account is created, you can access your planners in this tool from anywhere via a web browser. You can also share your planners with others (see the 'Sharing' section below for more details). Creating an account is easy, you simply need to provide us with your name, a valid email address and password and tell us where you work. Don't worry, we will keep these details private.


Once you have created an account you will have access to exemplar planners. These are planners that we have created as examples to help you understand some ways the tool can be used. If you choose to view one of these examples, you will be prompted to create a copy of it, which will then become available in your 'My Planners' list. You will be able to edit and make changes to it to suit your needs. Of course, you can also delete it from your 'My Planners' list if you don't need it.

Start a new planner

When you start a new planner, you will initially be prompted to provide a name for your planner. We suggest you name the new planner after the inquiry you are creating. You should also set the range of curriculum levels it is intended for. If required, you can set the planner for a single level by choosing the same level in both boxes. When you click 'Save' a new planner will be created for you. Every new planner is 'blank' though there are prompts to help you enter appropriate content.

Edit the text in each box

Editing a planner is easy. Simply enter text into each box of the planner by clicking on it. Each box has different questions and subjects to think about, and by completing more and more of the boxes, you will create a more comprehensive plan. You can track which boxes you have filled in by referring to the 'Progress' box at the top of the right hand column of the planner page. You can also enter notes about the intentions for your planner in this column too. These notes will also be visible on your 'My Planners' page to help you identify the planner. If you are using the planner in modern web browser you will enter text into the tool via a large pop-up window. These pop-up windows are designed to make the process of creating the planner as easy as possible, and additionally are designed to be easily used on a datashow or projector. This is handy if you are developing the planner in a collaborative situation.

If you are using an older browser, you can still use the planner, but you will input text directly into the page without the benefit of the large pop up window. We strongly suggest you use the planner in a modern browser if possible. Click here to see the fully supported browsers.


If you are using a modern browser, the planner saves itself completely every time you close a pop-up window. If you are using an older browser, you can use the 'Save' or 'Save and close' buttons to store your work. The planner records the last time you saved your work.

Downloading or printing your planner

If you want to share or review your planner offline, you should use the built in 'Download/print' button rather than using your browser's print function. This exports your planner in Adobe Acrobat format (PDF) which is available at either A4 or A3. The PDFs retain the look of the online planner and ensures all your text is captured, even if it is very long.


You can share a planner with others by clicking 'Send a copy' on the planner page. You can send a copy to anyone, whether they have an account or not. Simply fill in the email address of the person you want to share with and click 'Send a copy'. If the recipient doesn't yet have an account they will be prompted to create one before they open the Planner. Otherwise, the copy will be available in the recipient's 'My Planners' page the next time they sign in.

Accessible versions

Should you require an offline version of a planner template, there are printable versions available. These can either be ordered from here, or you can download the full 'Approaches to Social Inquiry' document here.

Accessible planner templates are also available in Word and PDF format.