Creative, research-based instructional strategies – presented by teachers, for teachers.
The Spotlight on Strategies series provides help, tips, and tricks for integrating Discovery Education digital media into your curriculum in meaningful, effective, and practical ways. The SOS series includes more than 150 different strategies you can use to engage students in active learning with digital media. Leave a comment and let us know how you’ll use this strategy in your class.
QFT (Question Formulation Technique)
Materials: Discovery Education media asset, paper, and pencil
- Design a Question Focus: This is typically a prompt that can be presented in the form of a statement, visual, or situation to “focus” and attract student attention and stimulate the formation of questions.
- Rules for Formulating Questions: Explain the rules for formulating questions to students. Students must follow these rules as they produce their own questions. Rules include:
- Ask as many questions as you can
- Do not stop to discuss, judge, or answer any of the questions
- Write down every question exactly as it was stated
- Change any statements into questions
- Produce Questions: Share the Question Focus and give students a few minutes to formulate as many questions as they can. Remind students to ask all kinds of questions about the topic, phrase, image, situation, etc. presented. This part of the process allows students to think freely without having to worry about the quality of the questions they are asking.
Categorize the Questions: Ask students to review their questions and then sort them into two types: open and closed. This can be done as an independent task, small group, or whole group.
Improve the Questions: Have students work together to change closed-ended questions into open-ended questions. This process will help students think about how the phrasing of a question can affect the depth, quality, and value of the information they will obtain.
Prioritize the Questions: Have students prioritize their questions according to a teacher-supplied criteria, such as, “Choose the three questions you most want to explore further” or “Choose three testable questions” when working with a science experiment.
Next Steps: Discuss and negotiate on what should happen next with the questions. Options include but are not limited to Socratic Seminar, independent or group research, or debate.
Investigate the Questions: Encourage students to use Discovery Education digital media to gather information to help answer their questions and prepare for their discussions, debates, or presentations. Provide time for theseculminating activities where students share what they’ve learned with their peers.
Reflection: Finish by encouraging your students to reflect on what they have learned. It is important to review the steps and provide students the opportunity to review what they have learned by producing, improving, andprioritizing their questions.
The Question Formulation Technique encourages a change in traditional classroom practice because it moves the creation of questions to the students, with the teacher acting as a facilitator. Using QFT frequently in your classroom will increase participation in groups and can help with classroom management because learning focuses on student creation as students are encouraged to take charge of their own learning process.
Implement QFT as a cyclical process that guides student learning in your classroom. As students arrive at answers, do not let the process end there. Instead, have students return to the beginning of the process by generating deeper questions and engaging in the research cycle once again.