Questions, Questions, Questions


Using the right questions and questioning strategies is essential during instruction.  In this WebQuest, you will explore different things to consider when planning for questioning in your classroom.


First, watch this YouTube video on the power of questioning:

In this video, they use the terms "open-ended" vs "closed" rather than the terms in our book: divergent questions vs convergent questions.  

Look at the diagram below and consider the following questions:  What is probing?  What is funneling when questioning?


How to Use Funnel Questions – With Examples


Next, watch this YouTube video and consider how students are taking ownership of questioning in the classroom.  What impact does this have on their learning?




Getting started with designing effective questions

  • Determine your learning objectives and align the questions with the objectives
  • Consider which level of learning you are targeting (i.e. remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate). Refer to Bloom’s taxonomy
  • Develop different question strategies. Examples include:
    • Ask students to explain the cause of an event or why a given situation or condition has arisen (these usually begin with "Why" (open-ended questions)
    • Ask students to explain their reasoning for a multiple-choice answer and explain why the other answers are incorrect
    • Ask students to compare and contrast situations, cases, ideas, people, or objects
    • Ask students to explain how to do something
    • Ask students to use their reasoning to predict something
  • Put the question through the following filters:
    • Does this question draw out and work with pre-existing understandings that students bring with them?
    • Does this question raise the visibility of the key concepts the students are learning?
    • Will this question stimulate peer discussion?
    • Is it clear what the question is about?


Take a lesson plan you have used in the past and critique the questions.  Determine how you can increase the level of questions by using probes and the funneling technique when students are in the learning process.


Now consider ways you could create an inquiry-based lesson and/or increase student-generated questions.  




Reflect on how you could increase the rigor and effectiveness of your plan through questioning.  In your reflection, be specific on how the revisions will improve and/or deepen student understanding.


Questioning can be the instructional technique used to increase student ownership of learning, yet provide scaffolded support.  How has your understanding of questioning changed?