Asking good questions…

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 Morschel, our 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…

About whatedsaid

Teaching and Learning Coordinator at an IB PYP school in Melbourne, Australia. I'm a teacher, a learner, an inquirer...
This entry was posted in Inquiry and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Asking good questions…

  1. You gave it away!! Take out the last line and this is a superb post.


    I saw a similar activity at a Kath Murdoch conference. She put an artifact under a cloth and we had to guess what it was in various stages.
    1) Visual, no touching
    2) Touching only with the palms, no fingers
    3) Using the whole hand to touch and feel
    4) Pick it up and feel it, without taking the cloth off
    5) Remove the cloth and try and figure out what it is (it was still not clear after the cloth came off!)

    I think our group had an old tool that was used on ships to judge the distance of the shore in the horizon. Nobody at the table knew what it was, and it drove us all nuts until we went online and found it!


  2. I love this activity! Thanks for sharing, Louise


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