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Asking the Right Questions: The Scientific Method and Elementary Education

written by: thethinktank•edited by: Trent Lorcher•updated: 3/16/2011

A scientific approach to teaching - asking the right questions can lead students to the right answer. Its said learning is best via discovery and self understanding.

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    The Scientific Method: Asking Questions

    “Why?" is the word. That’s what all of us have been hearing. Our current education system has made parrots out of us. When was the last time you read something and challenged it? Learners must approach learning like a scientist, and scientists employ the scientific method.

    Asking questions, and not just any question is an attitude that needs to be inculcated in our students at the elementary level, and for that, the teacher must inculcate it first. Just the right questions can lead you to the right answer by asking you to attack at the root of the problem. Apples had been falling but if you asked the question “why did the apple fall?", it would not lead you to the law of gravitation. It was because Newton thought of the fundamental question “why did the apple fall ‘down’?" that led to the discovery of the law of gravitation.

    Lets consider it on the lines of Scientific Method.

    The scientific method is a way of research, and here's how it can be applied to this approach of asking the right questions in our daily life.

    • Your observation should lead you to asking a question, the answer to which is a 'hypothesis'. Now the hypothesis must be validated by observations
    • You ask a question and try to answer it. Then your answer is an hypothesis that should be supported by observations. If observations go contrary to it, then your hypothesis is proven wrong. You must now ponder on what things the observations point to, contrary to your hypothesis. This will eventually lead you to the right answer or at least help you justify the right answer better.
    • Your approach should be not to answer all the questions of your pupils, but to ask them the right question . If a student reaches his answer himself, he'll feel smarter and much more inspired. You teach your student not the answers but the art of asking the right questions.

    The relevance of this approach grows today owing to the amount of exposure a child has to information. There are currently easily accessible tools waiting to be used. And it can answer all the questions you have; your task is to ask the right questions.

    So let me ask you the right question now - What are you waiting for?