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Using inquiry and problem-solving approaches, these learning experiences build upon students’ interests, support curricula, literacy and numeracy, and foster children’s skill development.

A Question Matrix is a tool to assist students in developing the skill of asking rich, higher-order questions about objects, events, ideas, and places in their environment.

A Question Matrix is a tool to assist students in developing the skill of asking rich, higher-order questions about objects, events, ideas, and places in their environment.

To develop students’ understand of ways in which questions help them to define an inquiry or a technological problem or challenge.

How do I use it?

Introduce the Question Matrix and use it to introduce and/or review question starters such as who, what, when, where, why and how, or I wonder.

Example of students recording their questions about germs
Source: Let's Talk Science

Model how to use this tool with the whole class using an object that is likely to be unfamiliar to students.

Record students’ questions about the object on self-adhesive notes.

Place the post-it notes in the appropriate place on the Matrix and note the starter words that were most commonly used and where the questions fall on the Matrix. Explain to students that the goal is to have most questions from the lower right than from the upper left of the Matrix.

Provide multiple and varied opportunities for students to asking questions and to build upon the questions of others.

Discuss with students how the questions help to define an inquiry and to state/clarify technological problem or challenge to be solved.

Tips for Success

Notice and name when students ask rich, higher order questions.

Create a learning environment where questions are welcomed and encouraged.

As needed, and in small groups, use the Collaborative Learning strategy or the Group Talk learning strategy to ensure that every student has the opportunity to ask questions.

When students work with partners, use the Think/ Pair/ Share learning strategy to ensure each partner has the opportunity to ask his/her questions.

Variations

Students can record their questions with a recording device.

Students can make sketches to represent their questions.

Use a “feely box” to introduce this strategy and have students ask questions based on information gathered through their senses.