“What color is the sky?” “Do you like to eat apples?” “How many blocks did you use to build that Tower?” These are all questions that you might find yourself asking children during daily activities. But..are these the types of questions that really challenge children to think? The answer to that question is, “No.” All of the questions listed above, plus the one I just asked of you, can be answered with one word. Asking the right types of questions is a sure fire way to help children building thinking and reasoning skills. It is also a wonderful way to engage children in meaningful conversation. For example, let’s say you are watching the children as they play in the sand. One of the children comes to yo with a problem…all the shovels are being used. Instead of simple saying, “Well, I guess you will need to wait until a shovel is available .” what if you asked “Hmm…how could you fill the bucket with out using a shovel?” This is a much higher level question that challenge the children to think. The same type of question could be used when a child is attempting to create a tall stack of blocks but it keeps falling down. For example, “How could you change the base of your tower to make it more stable?” these types of questions encourage children to think outside of the box and help them figure out on their own that many times, there is more than one answer to a problem. Taking the time to think about the questions you ask children makes you a more effective teacher and helps them become more skilled learners.
Who says that teaching materials need to be expensive? Some of the very