I’m looking forward to attending Jay Sorenson’s CUE Rockstar presentation on using the Question Formulation Technique. Rothstein & Santana (2011) devised a protocol that helps students improve their questioning skills, something that needs to be explicitly taught before embarking on inquiry projects in Social Studies. In my high school class, I found that my students could generate between 2-13 questions with the average student generating 6 questions in five minutes. These numbers increase over time with consistent practice using the protocol. The QFT can also be done in small groups, which helps students learn to collaborate and build off each other’s ideas.
I experimented with the QFT this summer and was unimpressed by the effort students put forth and the quality of the questions they asked. When I return to school for the fall semester, I am going to begin QFT activities by playing a related story on Listenwise before posing a focus question to the class. I am hopeful that this will help students generate more sophisticated critical thinking and better questions.
Meanwhile, I look forward to hearing how other teachers are developing one-period inquiry projects in their classes.