In addition to teaching in a regular classroom, I home school my two sons in English, since they attend school in Arabic and French. Recently, I allowed each of my sons to create a list of questions and then choose one to research for a “Genius Project”. My oldest son, for example decided to research how cardboard was made. He learned a lot of awesome – if useless facts. However, what inspired me the most was the dedication he put into his research. He read articles well above his level, watched documentaries, took notes, looked up vocabulary words, and made connections to science projects he had done in French class. Overall, he learned more on that one project than I could have taught in multiple lessons.
Doing this project with my personal children inspired me to make questioning a bigger part of my own classroom. Unfortunately, I do not have the time in my schedule to allow for as open ended of an approach as I did at home. However, I chose to open up our current topic – Heating and Cooling to my children for a questioning project. To get us started, we brainstormed a list of questions. The only requirement was that the questions had to be in some way related to heat. Once the students started, we covered my board with the questions they came up with. Some of the questions the kids had were:
Why is fire hot?
How do we create a fire launcher?
How can heat change rocks?
What is the difference between smoke and steam?
How can you promote questioning in your classroom?
This post was brought to you by Heidi Raki of Raki’s Rad Resources. Heidi Raki is a teacher in a multi-grade classroom at the International School of Morocco in Casablanca, Morocco. She enjoys using technology to allow students to make individualized meaning out of their learning.