Questioning Cycle: Making Students' Thinking Explicit during Scientific Inquiry

Document Type


Publication Date



During inquiry activities, teachers need to ensure their students are making progress toward learning goals. The informative questioning cycle can help teachers and students achieve these goals through simple techniques that can redirect and improve the quality of students' learning while it is in progress. The informative questioning cycle assists the teacher in making students' thinking explicit so the teacher can help students develop deeper understanding. The teacher begins by eliciting a response from students that reveals the state of the students' understanding. Next, the teacher recognizes the response by reflecting it back to the student or asking another followup question. The third step involves taking some form of action to help the student move toward the essence of the activity or concept. The process can be thought of as a cycle to reflect the ongoing nature of informative questioning throughout inquiry activities.