Great idea from Dan Rothstein & Luz Santana
Book: Make Just One Change: Teach Students To Ask Their Own Questions by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana. The Right Question Institute.
Steps of the QFT - register for FREE to access materials.
Sample Questions from a 50-minute math electives class, near the beginning of the semester. This was the first time I used QFT in this class; however, I had students who had been in a previous class that used this technique several times. My two goals were as follows: (1) Introduce QFT process; (2) Have students consider nature/nurture and inspiration/perspiration issues. These questions have only been compiled by me. None were omitted, and they have not been edited beyond minor typos. I added a few personal observations in red.
Sample Questions from a 50-minute Algebra 2 class. Students had had one discovery lesson on "linear regression." They had used Desmos to find a linear regression equation for a set of data. My goal was to use this as a "formative" method of feedback to inform next steps and items for full class discussion. I used this EARLY in our study to make more informed choices about follow-up assignments.
Sample Questions from a 30-minute Algebra 2 class activity. Students had read a two-page article provoking the idea of non-linear functions. Students like seeing their questions used in this way. The evidence of that: As I was reviewing the questions with students, one student observed: "Hey, that's MY question!" This lesson was used on the very first day of our "Exponential Functions" unit.
What have I learned from Luz Santana (at POCC) and by using this technique?
- Using QFTs has provided a window into what is going on in students' minds, based on prompts that I give in class. The prompt might be a See-Think-Wonder image or statement; it might be a process; it might be a short reading. Students' questions reveal what captured their attention in the prompt (aka "QFocus") and what they are wondering about as a result.
- Almost everything I want to "teach" can be part of an answer to a question generated by a robust QFocus and an appropriately-timed QFT session. Any concepts or skills that I feel like I need to "present" can be presented within the framework of a student-generated question.
- The goal of this activity is NOT to have students generate questions that I will answer, and I tell them this. The goal is to formulate questions (period). I believe that being able to formulate good questions is a great life skill. It is a goal that is sufficient unto itself. Students' responses to the question "What did you learn?" have affirmed this for me.
- This process, with little to no follow-up, helps students filter what they see and hear over the next few minutes (at least) after the activity.
- With follow-up (using this feedback in planning subsequent lessons and class activities), students have the opportunity to contribute to the forward momentum of the class and take more ownership. This is a student-centered activity. The results contribute to a more student-centered classroom environment.