Productive Questions to Foster Discussion: Having Scientific Conversations

Productive Questions to Foster Discussion: Having Scientific Conversations

Productive questions promote interest, reflection, reasoning, discussion, activity and evaluating knowledge from primary and secondary sources.

Purpose: To assess the questions you ask and your reason for asking them. Use the following questions as you work with students during whole and small group discussions.

o What questions do you have about… ? What questions do you still have?
o What did you observe?
o What do you know about … ?
o How are they alike? Different?
o Does anyone have another idea? Does anyone have anything to add to this idea?
o What makes you think so?
o What did you observe that gave you that idea?
o What evidence makes you think that?
o Can you describe a way to… ?
o Why do you think so?
o What did you find out?
o How did you find out?
o How could we find out?
o What can you tell us about it?
o What happened in your investigation?
o How would you explain that?
o What do you think will happen if … ?
o What have you tried? What else have you tried?
o What did not work?
o What would you do to… ?
o What caused that to happen?
o What pattern can you observe?

Encourage students to question and respond to each other’s ideas.


o Do you agree with this group’ s results?
o What questions do you have about this group’ s results?
o How are the results from this group’ s investigation like or different from your own?
o What advice do you have for this group about their problem?