Asking good questions…

Cross-posted at Inquire Within

What questions do you have about this artifact? It doesn’t matter what it is. We don’t know and we don’t (as yet) need to try to find out…

Our job is simply to create questions. We are each assigned a different lens through which to view the object and ask our questions. We are artists, mathematicians, scientists, inventors and historians.

We are encouraged to frame our questions conceptually. Considering the key concepts of form, function, causation, change, connection, perspective, reflection and responsibility (key concepts in the IB PYP) helps us to ask deeper and more interesting questions.

Give it a try!

I loved this activity, facilitated by Helen Morschelour workshop leader last Tuesday, for a number of reasons:

  • We could approach the task in different ways – it was naturally differentiated.
  • It was inquiry based, encouraging us to question, wonder and explore possibilities.
  • We were honing our questioning skills, while constructing meaning about the object and its possibilities.
  • We collaborated in groups and it was active and social (and fun!)
  • There were no wrong answers (or questions) and it didn’t matter what the object really was, so everyone was happy to have a go.
  • It was challenging and engaging and we saw at once how it could be used in our classrooms.
  • There was valuable individual and shared reflection about the process itself.

No wonder it was so successful. Take a look at our school’s learning principes

  • We learn in different ways, depending on abilities, learning styles, preferences and interests.
  • Learning takes place through inquiry: questioning, exploring, experimenting and problem solving.
  • Learning occurs by acquiring skills and knowledge, constructing meaning and transfer to other contexts.
  • Learning is active and social and best takes place through collaboration and interaction.
  • Learning takes place when we feel secure, valued and are able to take risks.
  • Learning needs to be challenging, meaningful, purposeful and engaging.
  • Learning includes meta-cognition and reflection, and requires learners to take ownership of their learning.

PS. It’s a quipu. Go and do your own inquiry…

9 thoughts on “Asking good questions…

  1. Helen did this activity with us last fall, and it is a good one that I had forgotten to follow up on…thank you for the reminder. So many good ideas get lost before we have the time to really mull them over and work them into our schema so they stay. It’s not because we don’t have enough input, enough amazing things to learn more about, but because there are so many!


  2. And not only that, you’ve learned what a Quipu is too 🙂
    I realise that the answer was not the point of the workshop but making discoveries must also be satisfying and I wonder if it’s essential for maintaining interest in the process… (?)


  3. I had a very difficult time teaching, but I am in the process of renewing my teaching license. I find it very encouraging that the strategies that I tried to use in my classroom are being used in the IB PYP schools. I am starting to see that I may need to try teaching again and maybe more teachers in my area will be open to these teaching ideas. Thank you so much for posting such a positive blog about teaching.


  4. I loved this post Edna. I love questions. I love what the children inquire about and where the discussion goes. I love when they become convinced of a thing and are adamant that they are correct until they are put in the spotlight with ‘how do you know?’ I love how the questions deepen and the learning continues and a hypothesis is formed. I love inquiry education and learning alongside my students. It makes life so rich.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s