The Question Matrix


The Question Matrix

Today I’m going to try to use a Question Matrix with my gr 10 applied History classes.

I am seeking a way to help them develop their inquiry process skills. Many students have never been pushed to ask questions beyond closed ended ones and certainly most have never been explicitly taught how to create thoughtful inquiry questions.

My own skills in this endeavour are limited – I know I can formulate valid research questions, but I haven’t thought enough about HOW I do this. This requires some meta-cognition my my part. Besides, the best way to learn something is to teach it to others!

I will start with a interactive lesson about questions using Pear Deck (a new tool I picked up this weekend at the GAFE Summit Ottawa). This will stimulate some discussion about what makes a good question. This will lead us to a conversation about the Matrix.

Using a series of paintings (on loan from the Canadian War Museum Supply Line) students will develop questions about what they are seeing. Students will be required to make up a question (and then find answers) for EACH of the matrix boxes.

(Possible extensions – using 2 x 6 sided dice, the matrix becomes a trip-tic of sorts. If the student rolls “1 &1”, they design a question for “What is…” or  a “3 & 4” they get “Which would…”. His/her peers then try to answer the question.)

This is a bit of an adventure. We’ll see how it goes.

I also found this lesson about reading the news and using a matrix.

How NOT to Ask Questions:

Googleable vs Non-Googleable Questions

Googleable vs Non-Googleable Questions The Lab.

In this post by Ewan McIntosh at @NoTosh, teachers and students are challenged to determine low and high order questions. The latter than becomes the focus for the duration of the lesson.

Why?  McIntosh states:

Every topic, every bit of learning has content that can be Googled, and we don’t want teachers wasting precious enquiry time lecturing that content. We want students, instead, to be using class time to collaborate and debate around the questions that are Not Googleable, the rich higher order thinking to which neither the textbook nor the teacher know the answers.


I tried this with my gr 11 Anthropology Class.