Thick and Thin Questions for Research

Hi friends!

My elementary school library has felt like a war zone lately. After two long days of testing, we spent the past 3 days on “soft lockdown” due to various events and threats. Oh my!

We’re doing the best we can to keep things normal for our students and keep on teaching. For me, that means fourth and fifth grade research projects.

In the upper grades, students have more choice. And we begin their projects by having each student think of “three thick questions” about their topic, to focus their search for information.

I show them this little Animoto video I made.

Then we generate thick and thin questions in a large group. This is the fun part, where you can literally see the light bulb go off in students’ heads.  They really enjoy having a CHOICE about the direction of their research. They enjoy explaining to each other why the question is thick or thin.

To me, this lesson is worth repeating, even without a research project to go with it. How do YOU teach your students to ask questions?

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      1. Stacey,
        It depends. For most of the grades, there is an overarching topic, like endangered animals, or careers. For fifth grade this year, we are trying “genius hour” type research projects, allowing them to research any subject that interests them. Having choice keeps them motivated, even during the last few weeks of the school year.
        Great to hear from you!

    1. So just found this great video. Am going to use it with 3rd grade next week to help them begin to generate their questions for their Genius Hour projects. Thanks for allowing us to use it!

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