Why Are School Buses Always Yellow?
(Second Edition 2016)

"This book ignited a fire in our school. With only small tweaks to our units, our teachers saw huge differences. The students were so excited and eager to learn. We have continued to build on that success andBarell’s words of wisdom are often quoted during planning sessions.

Kim Connor, Gifted/Talented Specialist
Parkside Elementary School,
Leander, TX

Why Are School Buses Always Yellow?
Teaching for Inquiry, K-8 Second Edition

Inquiry is what drives us all toward new knowledge, but how do we transform children’s natural ability to notice and wonder into the full learning cycle of observing, thinking, and critically questioning?
Through this new edition of the bestselling Why Are School Buses
Always Yellow? you’ll find simple, yet systematic ways to develop authentic student inquiry that fosters deep learning. This new edition features:

  • New emphasis (Chapter 8) on teaching students to analyze critically what they find on the Web
  • Emphasis on turning inquiry into critical thinking, assessing students’ inquiry, and involving families in the inquiry process
  • Examples for K–8 across subject areas
  • Updates based on the latest research around inquiry-based teaching
  • New and updated activities, checklists, templates, glossary of key terms and implementation tools
  • Alignment with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards

With this invaluable resource, help students transform their playful wonderings into deeper questions about content—and develop the higher-level thinking skills they need for success in school and in life.


John Barell signing copies of Why Are School Buses Always Yellow? at the Texas Association for Gifted Students.


Buy Now:

Read Chapter Four, first edition: How do we plan for students' questions?" A description of how to create problematic-scenarios to foster and structure inquiry toward summative assessments. Click here for PDF.


“Educators often talk about developing lifelong learners -- our team has had great success using Why Are School Buses Always Yellow? to catalyze professional conversations about how we can better cultivate curiosity through an inquiry approach. I strongly recommend this book for those who are interested in unlocking the uniquely creative capacity of our youngest learners.”

Dr. Devin Vodicka
Superintendent of Schools
Vista Unified School District
Vista, CA

"John discusses simple ways to develop authentic student inquiries using real life examples from teachers around the world illustrating the power of the curious mind in all of us. The new chapter on evaluating sources in the digital age is particularly pertinent for our students. John inspires educators to ensure inquiry drives student learning in the classroom and beyond."

Allyn Raw
Deputy Director and Primary School Principal
Heidelberg International School
Heidelberg, Germany

"Questions give voice to wonderings and provide purpose to learn and broaden horizons. Superbly demonstrated within these covers is the understanding that inquiry is for all – no matter the interest or academic level. How is this possible and achievable? Open this book to discover ideas that can be easily adapted to any learning environment."

Kerry Faber, B.Ed, M.Ed
Ekota Elementary School
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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