Tool II-1: Planning for IBL – a focus on questioning

For this tool you will need the following resources:

  • II-1 PowerPoint
  • Handout 1: Planning for IBL in science – a focus on questioning

The aim of this tool is to help the group identify the types of questions that are useful to promote download_powerpointstudent inquiry in science classrooms. To begin, teachers work in small groups to share their thoughts about questioning and then the whole group discuss strategies to encourage student inquiry.

teamworkAsk the teachers to work in small groups and share their thoughts about improving questioning in classrooms at the start of an activity.

Use these questions as a prompt:
1. How can we increase wait time to enable more students to think and respond?
2. What sorts of questions are best used with students as they start an activity or topic in science?
3. How will you make sure that all students are involved in the thinking?
4. How do you respond to students during this special ‘thinking’ time?   Do you use praise, are you neutral in response?
5. What are the pros and cons of planning for generating thinking in a science class?

Ask the groups to write their thoughts on the Handout: Planning for IBL in science – a focus on questioning.


Now bring the group together and share the responses from the groups. What are the main points? Ask the group to think about the challenges and benefits of using questioning in this way.

In the past teachers have said: it feels artificial, things take a long time, it’s hard not to talk, you can see the children thinking, more students are involved, I don’t praise for ‘good’ (the correct response) answer any more so all the children are kept wondering, I can ask any child to say what their group’s ideas are.

Invite the group to comment on these statements.


The teachers should be encouraged to think about a lesson they will be teaching and how they could adjust their planned use of questions to promote IBL. After the lesson they should reflect on students’  responses and be ready to report back on any observations or impact on learning.