#ask science questions
20 Questions to Ask Students in Science Projects
When children work on science projects, experiments, investigations, or other science activities their curiosity can be stimulated by asking questions. This helps children develop a better understanding of science concepts. Questioning is part of the attributes of inquiry-based science and central to critical thinking.
Designing Science Experiments Using Questions
Questions are critical to any science project; this is the way scientists begin every experiment. Scientists use inquiry-based questioning to help them ask more questions about how to conduct an experiment.
Helping children follow this process can be accomplished by asking the following questions about – How does Sunlight affect the growth of plants ?
10 Questions for Designing the Experiment:
- What does this make you think about? – Helps them remember other similar type experiments.
- What do you need to know…? – They think about how they will determine the answer to the experiment’s question?
- What materials will you need? – They think about actual materials needed and how they will collect data with these materials.
- What will you measure in the experiment? – They think about what to measure to answer the experiment question along with defining control, independent, and dependent variables.
- How will you measure…? – They think about how they will actually take measurements.
- What will happen if…? – They think about other variables which will affect their experiment’s results.
- How will you record your data? – They think about data tables and other ways to record their observations during the experiment.
- Will you average…? – Helps them think about multiple trials.
- How long will you conduct the experiment? – They think about a reasonable period of time for the experiment.
- What do you predict will happen? – Helps them formulate a hypothesis.
Findings Using Inquiry-Based Questions
Now the children have designed and conducted their own experiment to determine how sunlight affects the growth of plants. The next part of the inquiry process is to explain their findings to others. In this case, you will probably need to ask more questions to help them focus the report of their findings. This part is the most critical step in helping children internalize the information they learned from the experiment.
10 Questions for Explaining Experiment Findings:
- How did you conduct your experiment? – Relaxes and prepares them for explaining their findings.
- What did you find out? – Gives them the opportunity to explain in their own words what happened during the experiment.
- How about your control…? – They explain findings in relation to the control variable.
- Did you feel, see, hear, or smell anything doing the experiment? – Helps them remember what happened in relation to their senses.
- Tell me more about your findings? – Gives them the opportunity to explain additional findings using their data tables and graphs.
- Can you show me…? – Gives them the opportunity to present models or other materials from their experiment.
- Is there anything else you could have used? – Causes them to think about any other materials or procedures they could have used to conduct the experiment.
- Was your hypothesis correct? – It is extremely important to let them know they did not fail if their hypothesis was not correct. Rarely are scientists hypothesis correct.
- How do you know…? – Requires they think about their evidence and does it support their finding.
- What would you do different if…? – Provides them with the opportunity to think of other ways to conduct the experiment.
These 20 questions are all designed to help guide children before, during, and after science experiments or projects. Following these questions helps children use their critical thinking skills and develop a better understanding of the science investigation process. Visit Understanding Scientific Inquiry for more information.