Leading Questions

There are more questions than Higgs Bosons in the universe, and according to the people at CERN http://www.siliconrepublic.com/innovation/item/28177-exclusive-interview-with/ (congratulations BTW)  there are an awful lot of Higgs Bosons hitching rides on other particles coattails all around this great universe.

I also feel like my students have become too accustomed to Google knowing everything (except how to “Find Chuck Norris“).  Sometimes they fail to recognize the importance of unanswered questions.

For example, I cannot for the life of me identify the author of this quote, but I am loathe to say anonymous, because I think it wasn’t.  Ah!  I even puzzled Google with this misquote.

Science is the process of creating two questions where one was before.

So whomever I am misquoting, a apologize and humble acknowledge such quote as not my own work.

In this case the disruptive technology of web-searches seems to sometimes enhance and sometimes stifle creative thinking.  Don’t get me wrong, I love search engines.  I just feel like my students are ill-prepared for the limitations of the great search  no matter what Bing does to try to guess intuitively what you meant.

So with that in mind I have decided to create a flipped discussion board in my classroom.  Certainly applicable in face-2-face as well, the idea is simple.  Rather than answer my prompt I want students to reply with  another question developed from the original question.  My reasoning is this, we often fail to understand people, communication, world events, science and possibilities because we fail to ask the right question.  Brainstorming is not a new concept, but people too often focus on the solutions.  I want the focus to be the questions.

So, this is my new project for enhancing discussions in my Earth Science course.
Here is an example:Original Prompt: Why is the sky blue?
  • What other color could it be?
  • Does the color tell us more about the sky or the light?
  • What color is the sky on Mars?
  • Where does the light come from?
  • What color was the light before it hit the sky?
  • Why does the sky color change?
  • Does blue mean hot or cold?
Has anyone ever tried this sort of question-storming?  I’d love to hear how/if it worked.

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