Questioning Strategies Resources

LIASCD Presentation - October 9, 2015


In and of themselves, questions do not necessarily affect learning, particularly if they focus on isolated points that might (or might not) build the memorization skills of students...It is important to remember that questions should build on current knowledge and occur in a relevant context.

-Fusco (2012), Pg. 13

Pose Purposeful Questions in Mathematics Classes

Effective mathematics teaching relies on questions that encourage students to explain and reflection their thinking as an essential component of meaningful mathematical discourse. Purposeful questions allow teachers to discern what students know and adapt lessons to meet varied levels of understanding.

Planning Effective Questions

See how two teachers use different questioning patterns to discuss graphing coins.

Questioning Pattern: Funneling

T: What do you notice about the graph? [waits briefly] Do you see a pattern in the data? [waits briefly again] what are the measures of center for the pennies?

S1: The mean is about 12.9 years, and the median is about 9 years.

T: What does the box plot tell us about the variability of the data?

S2: It has a long tail on one side.

T: That may be true, but what about the interquartile range - the IQR? What does it tell us?

S3: Where most of the pennies occur.

T: Is that really what the IQR tells us? What does each part of the box plot stand for?

S4: Each part is 25 percent.

T: Yes, so what else?

S5: The middle is 50 percent of the pennies and is from 3 to 19 years old.

T: Good. What can we say about pennies on the basis of this information?

S6: That most of them are about 10 years old.

T: But since these are pennies, what does that tell us about all coins?

S7: That coins will be about 10 years old.

T: Well, 10 years is for pennies, but this wouldn't necessarily be the same for, say, quarters. Why not?

- Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success For All (2014)

Questioning Pattern: Focusing

T: What things do you notice or wonder about the age of pennies?

S1: It doesn't seem like many of them are very old.

T:What about the graph makes you say that?

S1: There's a big mound for newer pennies.

T: Is there anything else that you notice?

S2: I found the interquartile range and saw that most pennies are from 3 to 19 years old.

T: Explain to us what the interquartile range tells us.

S2: It is where most of the pennies occur.

T: What do you mean by "most of the pennies?"

Sesame Street: Cookie Questions Prairie Dawn
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