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Good question stems

Overview of how to design a 'Good question stems' digital learning activity.

Image of a plant in the shape of question mark with the text: Good question stems

29 April 2021

About this activity


Students answer questions to encourage deeper thinking and reflection.

Typical questions might be:

  • Why does …?
  • What if …?
  • How would you …?
  • Could you explain …?
  • What might …?

Why use it


  • Can be used to encourage peer activity 
  • Develops student self-regulation – what do students know about a subject and its relationship with other subjects 
  • Could form the basis for one minute paper activity 

Example instructions for students


In pairs, discuss 3 new things you have learnt or what you found easy or difficult or something you would like to learn in the future. 

Why use it 


  • Can be used to encourage peer activity 
  • Develops student self-regulation – what do students know about a subject and its relationship with other subjects 
  • Could form the basis for one minute paper activity 

When to use it


  • At start of class as revision 
  • At mid or end point to check on understanding 
  • As peer activity 
  • As an independent study task 

Digital tools that might be used


Synchronous: 

  • break-out rooms 
  • chat 
  • Teams meeting 
  • Mentimeter 
  • Shared whiteboard 

Asynchronous: 

  • share document (for the entire group) 
  • whiteboard 
  • Mentimeter

Speed of set up time 


5 minutes

Workload


Depending on resources involved and planning the structure:

  • To define the activity 
  • To prepare questions 
  • To establish an etiquette with the students

This activity may become easier and more spontaneous if repeated throughout the modules/the sessions. 

Other resources


  • Screen clock  or count down timer 
  • Note taking facilities for students 

Cartoon image of two people with speech bubbles

Got something to say? Comment on this activity on the IDEAs blog.