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Wednesday 4 December 2019

Let's be inquisitive!

At which point is it in a child's life when they stop asking why? Whilst my own young children are endlessly questioning the world around them (to the point where I sometimes limit them to 10 'why's' a day), I have come to the conclusion that more of my classes are becoming increasingly less inquisitive, too accepting of the knowledge they are taught and are not always challenging me to explain the why.

This has led to some frustration on my part, and triggered some investigation into how to engage them into asking why. As a result, I present to you my top six strategies for how to make students more inquisitive in your lessons:

1. Who would have THUNK? Driving Questions are at the forefront of the Mangotsfield Way, stimulating the students interest and challenging them to think deeper to be able to answer a higher order question. However, THUNKs can be used alongside to challenge the creativity of our students - what does a rainbow taste like, if a tree falls does it make a sound etc? The key idea to this activity is to encourage discussion, with that idea that no one answer or person is correct.

2. Inference Diagrams. Give students am image, quotation, diagram, graph or table in the middle of a sheet of paper. Use a number of concentric squares around the stimulus working their way out towards the edge. Ask questions such as:
a) What does the source tell me?
b) What can I infer?
c) What does the source not tell me?
d) What questions do I need to ask in order to investigate the source further?

3. Goldfish Bowl Debate. A small group of students are selected to discuss ideas/summarise their learning in the middle of the classroom. Remaining students positioned around the edge of the room then observe and provide challenge at certain points. Roles can be reversed and students can take it in turns.

4. Fascinators. Place an image/diagram/graph on the board in order to initiate a discussion. Students given post it notes - what do you notice? What questions do you have? What do you need to know more of in order to understand the image/diagram/graph?

5. Q&A Turned Upside Down. Provide students with a set of answers (such as key vocab or knowledge checkers) and they have to write a question to match each answer. Extra challenge can be provided by asking students to write as many questions as possible for that answer.

6. Remove the obvious resource. When students are completing a task, remove the resource that students would normally rely on so that they must consider what else they could use. This might be especially useful if you would like students to use their notes rather than automatically refer to a textbook. 

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