This year I have made a deliberate effort to encourage students to pose more questions, believing that this gives me a better insight into students’ thinking. On Friday, during a Geography lesson, I saw the benefits of this. In planning the lesson I had decided to model reading the climate statistics of Adelaide, so that students could then explore the climate statistics of their chosen country.
I presented the following table and graph:
I had planned to pose questions like:
- What is the highest average maximum temperature? When does this occur?
- What is the lowest average maximum temperature? When does this occur?
- What is the average rainfall for June?
Instead I referred to the data and got students to pose the questions. They asked much higher order questions, such as:
- Who collects the data? – Do they record accurately or can they manipulate the data if they are climate sceptics? (This wasn’t worded in this way, but it was what they were getting at.)
- How accurate is the data?
- What is the area related to the rainfall? How does this affect the data collected?
- Has there been major differences between the climate each year?
- After looking at the average temperatures, and knowing that the temperature can be much higher than these in Adelaide, one student thought that the statistics may be different if the last few years’ data was used, rather than the previous 30 years.
- Is the data reliable?
- When was it recorded?
- Who recorded it?
- Why is January the hottest month and has more rainfall than February? – February is usually hotter isn’t it?
- Why does the minimum temperature follow the maximum? (Recognition of pattern)
- Why does June have the highest rainfall?
I will continue to encourage students to pose and answer their own and others’ questions.