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Inquiry Process for Effective Researching

The 5 steps of inquiry-based learning

This is why inquiry-based learning includes the following steps:

  1. Ask questions
  2. Probe into various situations
  3. Conduct analyses and provide descriptions
  4. Communicate findings, verbally or in writing
  5. Think about the information and knowledge obtained

The 4 forms of inquiry

There are four forms of inquiry that are commonly used in inquiry-based instruction:

  • Confirmation inquiry
    Learners are given a question, as well as a method, to which the end result is already known. The goal is to confirm the results. This enables learners to reinforce already established ideas, and to practice their investigative skills.
  • Structured inquiry
    Learners are given the question and the method of achieving the result, but the goal is to provide an explanation that is already supported by the evidence gathered during and through the investigative process.
  • Guided inquiry
    Learners are only given a question. The main goal is to design the method of investigation and then test the question itself. This type of inquiry is not typically as structured as the previously mentioned forms.
  • Open inquiry
    Learners must form their own questions, design investigative methods, and then carry out the inquiry itself. They must present their results at the end of the process.

Research and Inquiry Planning Rationale - WRDSB Research and Inquiry Plan. “Research and Inquiry Planning Rationale - WRDSB Research and Inquiry Plan.”, 2013, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.


Tech for a Ted Talk - Mr. Bell

Build a GREAT TedTalk

FastCompany's 7 Tips for a Mind-Blowing TedTalk

What is the best structure for a talk?

There are many theories on the best structure for a great presentation. (Nancy Duarte presents one here.) There’s no single trick to it, but here is at least one structure that we’ve found to work particularly well:

  1. Start by making your audience care, using a relatable example or an intriguing idea.
  2. Explain your idea clearly and with conviction.
  3. Describe your evidence and how and why your idea could be implemented.
  4. End by addressing how your idea could affect your audience if they were to accept it.

Whatever structure you decide on, remember:

  • The primary goal of your talk is to communicate an idea effectively, not to tell a story or to evoke emotions. These are tools, not an end in themselves.
  • Your structure should be invisible to the audience. In other words, don’t talk about how you’re going to talk about your topic – just talk about it!



A strong introduction is crucial.

  • Draw in your audience members with something they care about.
    • If it’s a topic the general TED audience thinks about a lot, start with a clear statement of what the idea is.
    • If it’s a field they never think about, start off by invoking something they do think about a lot and relate that concept to your idea.
    • If the idea is something fun, but not something the audience would ever think about, open with a surprising and cool fact or declaration of relevance (not a statistic!).
    • If it’s a heavy topic, find an understated and frank way to get off the ground; don’t force people to feel emotional.
  • Get your idea out as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t focus too much on yourself.
  • Don’t open with a string of stats.



In presenting your topic and evidence:

Make a list of all the evidence you want to use:

  • Think about items that your audience already knows about and the things you’ll need to convince them of.
    • Order all of the items in your list based on what a person needs to know before they can understand the next point, and from least to most exciting. Now cut out everything you possibly can without losing the integrity of your argument. You will most likely need to cut things that you think are important.
    • Consider making this list with a trusted friend, someone who isn’t an expert in your field.
  • Spend more time on new information: If your audience needs to be reminded of old or common information, be brief. • Use empirical evidence, and limit anecdotal evidence.
  • Don’t use too much jargon, or explain new terminology.
  • (Respectfully) address any controversies in your claims, including legitimate counterarguments, reasons you might be wrong, or doubts your audience might have about your idea.
  • Don’t let citations interrupt the flow of your explanation: Save them for after you’ve made your point, or place them in the fine print of your slides.
  • Slides: Note anything in your outline that is best expressed visually and plan accordingly in your script. See Step 4.



  • Find a landing point in your conclusion that will leave your audience feeling positive toward you and your idea's chances for success. Don’t use your conclusion to simply summarize what you’ve already said; tell your audience how your idea might affect their lives if it’s implemented.
  • Avoid ending with a pitch (such as soliciting funds, showing a book cover, using corporate logos).
  • If appropriate, give your audience a call to action.



  • Once you’re settled on your outline, start writing a script.
  • Be concise, but write in a way that feels natural to you.
  • Use present tense and strong, interesting verbs.


What makes a GREAT TedTalk?