Questioning to Develop Mathematicians

Our final question in The Math Pod (#themathpod) twitter chat this past week (see the archive here), was built on Cathy Fosnot's challenge for us in the first podcast:

What is the difference between questions meant to guide students to a specific answer vs. questioning to support development as a mathematician?

So in the chat we asked:

What kind of questions can we ask to support development as a mathematician?
What would you actually say to your students?

Here are some of the answers from the participants in the chat:

What kind of questions can we ask to support development as a mathematician?
What would you say to your students?

Tell me about what you're doing.
What do you wonder?
Tell me more?
How did you know that?
What if i change this?
Really??? (especially when they're right!)
Can you explain what she just said?
What made you think of that?
How did you figure that out?
What does this remind you of?
Have you seen what (another kid) is doing?
Can you draw a picture of the problem?

I know that when I'm interacting with a couple dozen different students in a busy classroom, I like to have a couple of go-to questions or reactions in my back pocket, so I find lists like these very helpful. It's tough to get away from just confirming or correcting what the students are guessing - it will take practice to be able to implement these questions instead!

In addition to our responses to Cathy's challenge, there was also lots to consider about the questioning process, and asking questions in general:

Capacity Building Series #21: Asking Effective Questions

It will be interesting to see how Cathy addresses the topic in tonight's live podcast. 

How do you question students to get at their thinking, or encourage students to justify their reasoning, or have students make connections with what they've learned?


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