Questions and questioning are at the heart of rich math dialogue. We are in our first week of school and I realize that I need to work on my questioning skills to tap into the strengths of my diverse students.
I have found a few resources to use to help me in preparing worthwhile questions.
1. At the Ontario Ministry of Education, there is an excellent article entitled, “Asking Effective Questions.” In the article there are eight tips for asking effective questions. But then there are many, many questions or question stems providing an amazing framework for asking good questions.
2. I also ran across this book by Schuster and Anderson. The book is set up by strands in math. Even though I teach algebra, I find this book useful in developing questions to help my ninth graders make sense of the prerequisite math that they still struggle with. The questions are open-ended and challenging. For example: “Carla and Fiona are having a mathematical debate about the equation y = 1/2 x + 3. Carla thinks that every time y changes by one, x changes by 2. Fiona thinks that every time y changes by one-half, x changes by one. What do you think?”
3. One other book I ran across provides ideas for differentiating. It is also organized in strands. For each topic, the authors, Small and Lin, provide ideas for open questions and 2 parallel questions at different levels. One example that caught my eye is: “Another function is a lot like the given function. What might it be? Option 1: + 4. Option 2: . Follow up questions are provided: What happens to your function when x gets big? When x is quite small? What kinds of things might you change but still have a similar function? What would you choose not to change?
I’m on the prowl for other great resources for developing strong questioning skills. Send me a note if you know of others!