Do You Have a Question?

Schenectady Museum logo

Steve Russo, a friend at the Schenectady Museum in New York, enjoyed a Q&A session with a class of very young students. This is not an uncommon scenario, and an enjoyable if not productive one. Steve, relates this humorous exchange:

Steve (HOST): “If you have any questions, please raise your hand, and I will answer

So the kid raises his hand, and says: “My dad’s name is Steve too”.

My response: “And I bet your dad and I are not the only ones that have that

The teacher says: “That is NOT a question children”.

Next hand goes up: “My brother’s name is Steve”,

at which point the teacher chimes in and says: “Now children, Steve wants to answer
QUESTIONS, so if you have a QUESTION please raise your hand”.

Next hand goes up. “How come there are no planets named Steve”?

At which point neither the teacher or I could hold back the laughter.

Although questioning strategy is a big concept for primary students it can sometimes work to start a list of questions, one per student, before the field trip day. As the teacher introduces the subject material in the classroom students may have questions that can wait until the planetarium visit.

It will be necessary to review all the compiled questions before boarding the bus or during the ride to the University. In the theater, many students still will not remember the question they had, but by cueing them or reading the question from a list, the teacher can model the proper process and many students will begin to see the connections between questions and experts.