A Quest to Improveby: Azza Sharkawy

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Questions are powerful tools that are central to scientific inquiry. Given the importance of investigable questions to scientific inquiry, what can teachers do to help students learn how to generate them? Possibilities the author explores in this article are (a) demonstrating to students that we value their questions, (b) providing students with opportunities to explore natural phenomena, (c) modeling asking investigable questions and providing examples of question stems, and (d) providing explicit practice identifying and refining questions.

Grades
  • Elementary
Publication Date
12/1/2010

Community ActivitySaved in 333 Libraries

Reviews (11)
  • on Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:09 PM

After I read this article, I learned that “Questions are powerful tools that are central to scientific inquiry.” ( Sharkawy, 2010, p.32) Teachers should encourage students to ask questions. The author gives teachers some tips to help students to learn how to do science inquiry. The first one is that teachers should learn how to pay attention to students’ question. Teachers can put a question box in the class, students can put their questions into the box and this is anonymous. The second on is that providing students with opportunities to explore natural phenomena. For example, when students are learning plants, teachers can invite students go outside to observe plants in the nature life. I think this is a good way to help students to understand the new concepts. The next tip is that offering students examples of questions which can be investigated. Sometimes students need more guidance or scaffolding to ask their questions. That last tip is that providing explicit practice identifying and refining questions. Students need chances to refine their questions to become more valuable. Teachers can also list the criteria on the board to help students to fix their questions. In this article, I learned that how to help students ask their questions.

Yu Ni
Yu Ni

  • on Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:50 AM

I loved this article!! This breaks it down into easy, manageable strategies for getting students excited about science - I love the idea of sending them out to explore and investigate on their own, and modeling for them how to do it. Any time we can give them explicit instructions and then they can go further with it in their own investigations is a win win. I can see my students getting super excited to discover natural phenomenon as well, so thank you for such a motivational article!

Tammy Jo Magruder
Tammy Jo Magruder

  • on Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:15 PM

A Quest to Improve is a great article covering how students can develop investigable questions and show them how powerful questions can be. The article talks about how teachers can help students generate these investigable questions. Teachers can help by demonstrating the value they have on students' questions, provide opportunities to explore, model asking investigable questions and providing examples, and providing practice for students to identify and refine questions. Overall great article to help teachers' inquiry skills

Rebecca B
Rebecca B

  • on Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:15 PM

A Quest to Improve is a great article covering how students can develop investigable questions and show them how powerful questions can be. The article talks about how teachers can help students generate these investigable questions. Teachers can help by demonstrating the value they have on students' questions, provide opportunities to explore, model asking investigable questions and providing examples, and providing practice for students to identify and refine questions. Overall great article to help teachers' inquiry skills

Rebecca B
Rebecca B

  • on Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:15 PM

A Quest to Improve is a great article covering how students can develop investigable questions and show them how powerful questions can be. The article talks about how teachers can help students generate these investigable questions. Teachers can help by demonstrating the value they have on students' questions, provide opportunities to explore, model asking investigable questions and providing examples, and providing practice for students to identify and refine questions. Overall great article to help teachers' inquiry skills

Rebecca B
Rebecca B

  • on Fri May 24, 2013 10:30 AM

This article talks about questions that students ask. The author describes four kinds of questions: philosophical ones, complex ones, and one that are seeking information such as facts. In particular research is used to focus on the complex questions and how to address these kinds of questions. The article also provides three examples of investigative questions used to help children understand what they may be looking at. Reading this article might help the educator become better at asking the right questions.

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

  • on Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:59 AM

The author starts off with a quote from Albert Einstein that says it all..."If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes to formulate the right question because as soon as I have identified the right question I can solve the problem in less than five minutes." This article has a wealth of ideas on how to help students form questions that require thought and science to answer. It gives clear and concise directions on how to develop better questioning from students.

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

  • on Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:44 AM

A great article for ALL teachers. While looking for an activity that Early Elementary teachers could use for their science program, I found this. It was wonderful. The opening quote by Albert Einstein spells out the purpose of this article-how to find the "right question" to investigate. It gives a multitude of possible question-stems, when & where to use them, and some ideas for topics that students can investigate. This article is written in such a manner that the teacher will be able to immediately think of a unit of study that they would like to purse in their classroom. It then has examples of how to help their student formulate great, questions that can be investigated. This article helps the teacher start the whole process of investigations in the classroom (or outside) off correctly.

Sue Garcia
Sue Garcia

  • on Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:28 PM

How do help students understand how important their questions are? How do we assist students in idntifying the diffference between a research and an investigable question? This article helps us the teacher and then the student understand the differences. the author also models the different type of question and talks about providing students the opportunity and the environment to ask questions. This article is baed on the work of Wynne Harlen, a highly respected science educator. In fact, if you like the article, you will certainly want to read wynne's book "Primary Science" I was lucky enough to do some work with Wynne Harlen in San Franscisco at the Exploratorium.

Kathy Renfrew  (Barnet, VT)
Kathy Renfrew (Barnet, VT)

  • on Mon May 02, 2011 9:45 AM

I liked the steps outlined in this article to help teachers support students in understanding what is an investigable question. There are several strategies a teacher could use to help students understand how to take the questions they ask and turn them into investigable questions. This first step in creating a classroom where questions are valued leads to a richer science inquiry experience for students.

Kate  (Louisville, CO)
Kate (Louisville, CO)

  • on Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:41 AM

Having students be able to formulate investigable questions is so important in inquiry. The author provides many valuable hints and examples to help teachers guide students to refine and evaluate questions to be good investigable questions. The author includes the valuing all student questions, suggestions on how to handle students’ questions, types of investigable questions and a checklist for evaluating questions. This is a very good article to enhance teachers’ inquiry teaching skills.

Kathy Sparrow  (Delray Beach, FL)
Kathy Sparrow (Delray Beach, FL)


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