Jim Allison: Breakthrough


Forums / Rural Teachers / Questioning

Rural Teachers


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Kristi Brockschmidt Kristi Brockschmidt 2440 Points

I'm a volunteer science teacher in a small rural school. I've been working to bring NGSS into our classroom. One of the challenges I've noticed over the last year is how to create genuine curiosity and questioning. I'm sure we've all run into the kid that had a very vivid imagination that generates a myriad of questions. One of these types in our classroom is more interested in blowing things up and expressing power. His questions usually end up going into: "would these chemicals explode if we mixed them together?" or smooshing caterpillars just to see them ooze and squish. (Secretly I hope these students don't have access to matches and firecrackers at home...) Now in some contexts these types of questions may in fact have scientific value, but in a school context it isn't really contributing to learning and the genuine scientific experience. Typically I end up focusing the class on the task at hand. I'm curious though how you've all directed this type excessive 'questioning' without stifling their curiosity? To them, investigating the parts of a plant or looking at the structure of an insect through a spy glass is 'boring' because it's not 'exciting' enough. Thoughts?

Heather Peacock Heather Peacock 1400 Points

I personally think that questioning is a very important, yet difficult strategy to use when teaching any subject. I feel that using the questioning strategy in the science class helps the students gain interest because they are intrigued by the content. I have found throughout my student teaching experience that students often ask questions that are guiding us away from the content being taught. I feel that it would be important for us to re-direct the class into the main point of the discussion so that we do not go into unnecessary detail. I feel that questioning becomes natural when conducting a science experiment because the students want to know what's going to happen, therefore it forces them to ask questions that are on topic. When students ask questions related to the content being taught, they build off one another and create an environment of interactive learning. I feel that it is a positive thing that your students are asking questions, they're just not asking relevant questions. I would try finding a way to re-direct them back to the content and discussion points that you want to reach.

I agree with you point regarding questioning strategies and used some of the following resources to help guide me. 

NSTA has several resources on questioning: 


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