How Changing my Questioning Changed Everything


After my second year of teaching my state switched to using the Common Core State Standards.  While the standards weren't too different from the standards we were already using, how they wanted us to teach math switched drastically.  No more feeding students algorithms, they wanted students to discover, apply and connect.  I was totally on board with this switch, but the problem was ALL of our textbooks were now considered old. I suddenly had no resources for my students to use.  However, that summer before school started I went to various classes that taught about how we would now be teaching math.  They also addressed the issue of our lack of resources.  They taught us how we could actually use our old resources but we just needed to reverse the questions.  This idea was brilliant!  Let me give an example,  a math question may have said something like, "Find the volume of this rectangular prism with a height of 3 inches, a width of 2 inches and a length of 10 inches."  Instead, reverse the question, "Create a rectangular prism that has a volume of 60 cubic inches. Justify your answer."  So much more reasoning goes into the second question.  

I used this idea of reverse questioning and created an activity called "What's the Question?"  Essentially, I give students the answer to the question, and they have to come up with the question.  Many times there is more than one answer, but as long as students can justify their reasoning it works for me.  

I am giving away a sample page so you can get an idea of this activity, and use it with your students.  You will see deep-thinking increase in your classroom!

CLICK HERE for "What's the Question?" sample page

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