I found the article The Nuts and Bolts of 21st Century Teaching very enlightening and empowering. After doing the lesson so many times with her students she decided to turn the unit over to the students. She then became the facilitator of the unit and learned with the students as they did their research. Finding that Collaborating, Communicating and Connecting were the keys to a successful outcome.
As teachers we find it very hard to turn things over into other people hands with the worry that it will not get done properly or turn out the way it was intended. We forget that students do have a mind of their own and can manage to use their brain in other forms. Through working in collaborative groups this class of sixth graders were able to meet the standards and beyond by working together, communicating and reaching out to each other to search for inquiry to engage themselves in this unit of study that often many find difficult and troublesome to teach and to understand.
I believe that depending on the learning environment this is very possible with many students at many different grade levels to have the students search for their own answers to questions and facilitate the learning on their own realm. This takes often takes the teacher out of teaching but often places the learning and responsibilities on the students and creates autonomy in the classroom