Personal inquiry builds on natural curiosity about the world. It runs as a series of investigations where students, individually and collectively, take ownership of the inquiry process. A typical personal inquiry might start in the classroom, with students proposing questions that have personal meaning to which they genuinely want to know the answer. There are two fundamental reasons for encouraging students to engage in personally meaningful inquiry. The first is to give them the experience of acting like scientists. The second reason is that by carrying out investigations about themselves and their surrounding world, young people can feel the surprise and unease that are foundations of scientific curiosity. The Personal Inquiry Project was a three-year study of personally meaningful inquiry learning with children aged 11–16 in classrooms, at home and outdoors. The most successful investigation came from a group discussion with students aged 12–13 on the broad theme of ‘ecology’.