Help your students learn how to identify and ask higher-order thinking inquiry questions in class (science as well as other subject areas) and in life in general because this type of deep thinking promotes a richer classroom environment, critical thinking skills, and lifelong learning!
Getting students to think deeply about what they want to know and generating higher-order inquiry questions is a skill that often, in my experience, needs to be explicitly taught in order the help students from asking just any question to thinking about asking high-quality questions that can be used to help guide what is learned during a unit/lesson, conduct research, and do student-designed/led projects.
I teach this lesson towards the beginning of the year and often more than once during a year as a review and prompt for new learning topics. I then use the concept and terms learned during this unit in all subject areas throughout the school year, such as when brainstorming ideas for the "what we want to know" part of a KWL and other such exercises at the start of any International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) units.
This document includes:
- Lesson plan
- Student self-assessment (can be used as an exit ticket)
- 14 question cards for use during the lesson
Of the 14 question cards, 7 are "skinny" questions and 7 are "fat" questions. Skinny questions don’t take much thought or research and can usually be answered in just a few words. Fat questions are high-quality inquiry questions that make us think, often have to be researched in detail, and need a lot of explanation to answer in full. Fat questions are the kind of questions we want students to be asking for inquiry, research projects, and lifelong learning!
(Note: I have taught this lesson with students from first grade through fifth, but I think the lesson is easily adaptable for a much wider range of students, including ESL/EFL, Special Needs, and homeschoolers.)