The Early Years: Young Questionersby: Peggy Ashbrook

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Children are often described as natural scientists and their curiosity as a basic human trait. They amaze adults with perceptive questions and extended explorations of the environment. Asking questions is part of the National Science Education Teaching Standards B and E, and Content Standard A, Science as Inquiry, for grades K-4. Because asking questions is central to inquiry and learning in general, science teachers are especially invested in having all their students use this process skill. A lesson is included with this article.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (4)
  • on Sat Jun 14, 2014 2:59 PM

Another easy to understand, easy to use resource for developing inquiry skills in my students with special needs. This article explains question development clearly enough for me to be able to differentiate and scaffold the skill of asking questions for my population.

Margaret Stout
Margaret Stout

  • on Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:30 PM

Young students need guidance in how to ask questions. This article gives some quick and easy tricks to accomplish this goal.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:12 PM

Asking lots of questions is usually a sign of curiosity. Getting some young children to ask questions can be a challenge. In the activity described in this article, children touch eight different objects to describe their shape. One of these objects is then placed in an opaque container and students listen to the sound produced when the container is moved to guess which object has been placed in the container. The teacher encourages students to make observations and to ask questions to make an informed guess.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:13 PM

We want our students to be curious, and devise testable questions as they grow through science. The problem is, we are the ones asking defined questions, and providing our students a format for responding in an expected manner. In this fun activity designed for very young children, children observe objects within a container (fairly classic concept) and based on their examination of them without looking at them , they describe the object and try to identify it based on their observations. Great little exercise, especially if we can come up with items that may exhibit interesting properties, or require senses beyond vision and touch, and items that are not typically part of the child's world.

Jennifer Rahn  (Delafield, WI)
Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI)

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