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How Do I Write a Good Question? Good Question.

Today, my classes were in different phases of the inquiry project process. Once class was working on the brainstorming process another was  moving onto choosing one idea and molding it into a reasonable question or goal.

The general framework we are using for this project is the inquiry process.

So our focus was posing real questions or for some creating a real goal.  I formatted the questions from step 1 into a document so that we could go through the process of refining the idea into a strong driving question that was clear, focused, and complex.  I communicated that this question may change over time based on their research and that was perfectly fine.  And if they wanted to scrap a current idea for some reason, they could but needed to provide a reflection on why they were changing gears.

After drafting an initial driving question or learning goal, students were to submit it for feedback.    For those still unclear about where there area will lead them, I told them to put a placeholder in so they know to revise it once they begin learning more about their area of interest.

Here are the unrefined questions/goals/topics students will be running with from part  my 4th block class undoctored by my keystrokes (many were out for AP testing today):

  • I want to learn about if there are any relationship between array dimension and the real world dimension.
  • How to computers understand program codes written in English?
  • I want to learn more about the psychology behind cults and figure out what motivates leaders to start a cult and followers to join the cult.Â
  • What is a major chemistry topic that I could learn more about?
  • How should I format my college essays and what are the prompts for specific schools? I will then use that information to write two essays.
  • How do I use the common app to apply for colleges, preferably university of Wisconsin Madison?
  • How can I improve my English ACT score?
  • To pass my private pilot written exam with a score at least 5% above the lowest score to pass, and be ready to do it by the end of the school year so I can focus on flight training in the summer and take the test for my license by the end of August. I will know if I have achieved this if I can answer practice questions with at least 90% accuracy.
  • What will my life be like next year in the Twin Cities on and off the campus?
  • Learn the basics of reading poodle radiology and other information that I may need to learn to read them.
  • What style of striking the ball allows me to place my shot where I want
  • What does it take to become a complete Chemical engineer.
  • I will learn about and create a physics engine on my computer using C++ that will output to the screen. I will derive and create all the actual motion and rotation myself.

I’ll be sure to send out a full list out once 3rd block has their questions set a week from today.

I’ll be providing feedback on the questions/goals and we’ll pick-up with them next week.

Simply put, it’s difficult to write a quality question or goal.  I know this as an educator. It is something I struggle with for my content area and my professional growth.  But, it is an essential skill.

What has become most apparent to me is that students can’t write good questions without doing some investigating into their topics first. So, I may be a little underwhelmed by their ability to pose a focused complex question today.  That is part of the inquiry process. The research itself will lead them to better questions.

Students who submitted a question/goal moved on to finding resources after I approved the focus.  But, before just hitting the internet, they answered the guiding prompts and submitted the planning sheet to me. An important step in the resource part is identifying resources in various forms.  The won’t begin research until next week.

I really want students to connect with a human being as a source, rather than simply relying on online texts.  In fact, it's been great to see teachers offer up their services to the cause when they saw my last post that included a content area they are knowledgeable in.  If you feel like you could help with any of these areas, I would be grateful if you reach out to me so that I can connect you with one of my learners.  

So we have two classes in two different phases of the process. 4th block will be diving into the resource/research phase.  Third block added to the idea board today.  It was fun to see all the different ideas.  

Idea Board - New frame.jpg

Idea Board - New frame (1).jpg

Third block will be molding their questions next week.  I’ll probably put another call out for help on all the topics then.

If you or someone you know would be willing to be a resource, the learners in my class would be appreciated. You can reach out to my however you choose. My email is .

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