Kindergarten starts a big adventure in a child’s learning journey. It’s when they’re super curious and want to know everything. Think of their brains like sponges, soaking up everything around them. One important thing they should learn during this time is how to ask and answer questions, especially regarding science questions for kindergarten students.
However, keeping young students engaged and focused on scientific concepts can be challenging. Science lessons must be interactive and hands-on to maintain their interest and cater to their shorter attention spans. Printable worksheets should be kept to a minimum, focusing more on science fun and the wonders of science.
In this blog post, we’ll explore why teaching kindergarteners how to answer questions is a great elementary science practice and the perfect way to begin a science unit of study. Whether you’re an educator, a parent, or someone interested in nurturing a child’s love for learning, stay with me as I share ways to engage kindergarten kids through the power of questioning in science.
Pin for Later
Why Do Young Learners Need to Learn How to Ask and Answer Questions?
All of my science units follow the 5E’s of instruction. The first E is engagement. I have students participate in observing a phenomenon. During this time, I want students to do two things: make observations (notice) and ask questions (wondering). I also want students to create a model of their observations.
Their wonderings should drive instruction. For example, during my push-and-pull unit, students are given the following phenomenon and spend time exploring magnets. I have the students go around the room to find objects that are and are not attracted to the magnet. I encourage them to ask questions through my questioning. “What are you noticing about the objects that are attracted?” “How are they alike?” “How are they different?”
This tends to lend itself to some children saying, “I wonder if a pencil will stick to the magnet?” Once they’ve found several objects to explore, I have students create a model. Using chart paper, students show what they’ve learned. Most students may not be able to write, but they can draw. I find it interesting to see what they come up with during this activity. Here is one example of a group of nonreaders model.
Knowledge of the World
Any of the wonderings that aren’t answered are then put on a list we visit throughout the unit. Also, be sure to have students continue to add wonderings as more information about the topic is explored. Teaching students how to ask and answer questions helps give the students the science knowledge needed to build background and vocabulary about the topic.
It’s also a great way to develop a child’s language and, at some point, help them become better readers. I always go back to The Simple View of Reading. It amazes me when K-2 teachers are told to stick to teaching reading and math. Science instruction is a valuable tool for your teaching toolbox.
Build a Child’s Curiosity
Curiosity is the driving force behind learning. Using the questions students ask to drive instruction fuels their curiosity and inspires them to seek more information. If we encourage students to ask questions but never do anything with them, it teaches students their ideas are not valued.
Kids are naturally inquisitive, laying the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. So, remember to celebrate and praise students for asking questions. Make them feel that their questions are valuable and contribute to their learning. If you’d like more information, sign up for the freebie below:
What are good science questions for kindergarten?
As educators and parents, asking the right questions to kindle a child’s interest in science is crucial. Here are some examples of good science questions for kids related to each branch of science:
- “Why do some objects stick to a magnet?”
- “Why do some objects float?”
- “What happens when you mix colors?”
- “Why is the sky blue?”
- “What is severe weather?”
- “Why does it rain?”
- “How do plants grow?”
- “Is it a non-living thing?”
- “What is the life cycle of a butterfly?”
How Do I Teach Young Children to Ask Questions?
One effective way to teach young children how to ask questions is by exposing them to natural phenomena. Whether it’s a rainbow after a rainstorm or the changing leaves in the fall, these observable events spark curiosity. Encourage your kindergarteners to ask questions about what they see and experience.Phenomena: Temperature rises during the day and drops at night. by TechwithJen
In this example, I use video to help students begin asking questions during our weather unit. Visuals are so important to help bring the content to life.
Hands-on experiments are another fantastic tool for teaching children to ask questions. When kids engage in experiments, they naturally wonder about the “why” and “how” behind what they observe. Encourage them to formulate their questions and hypotheses as part of the scientific process.
Engage in simple, hands-on science experiments and guide students to ask questions about the process and outcomes. For instance, “What happens when we mix vinegar and baking soda, and why?”
Question of the Day
Start each day with a “Question of the Day” written on the board. Encourage students to think about possible answers and discuss their ideas with classmates. This routine can set the tone for inquisitiveness.
During storytime, pause periodically to ask students open-ended questions about the story. For example, “Why do you think the character made that choice?” or “What do you think will happen next?” This encourages them to think beyond the text.
Show and Tell with a Twist
Incorporate a “Show and Ask” activity where students share an item and ask a related question. This helps them formulate questions and think about cause-and-effect relationships.
Create a Wonder Wall
Earlier, I mentioned the importance of allowing students to ask questions during the science unit. A Wonder Wall is a great place where students can post questions about the world around them or the unit of study. Encourage them to revisit the wall and explore answers together.
Take students on nature walks and encourage them to observe and ask questions about the environment. Why are some leaves green while others are red? What do birds eat, and how do they build nests?
Even better, gather up natural materials to create your own nests.
Invite guest speakers, such as scientists or community members, to discuss their work. Encourage students to ask questions about the speaker’s experiences and expertise.
Play Question Games
Headbandz is a fun and simple game for kids that promotes critical thinking, social skills, and questioning. Here’s how to play:
- Players take turns wearing a headband with a picture or word without seeing the image themselves.
- The player with the headband asks each of the other players a question that will help them identify the picture on their head.
Create mystery boxes with hidden objects inside. Encourage students to ask questions to deduce what’s inside, promoting deductive reasoning and questioning skills.
Introduce question starter words like “What,” “Why,” “How,” “When,” and “Where.” Encourage students to begin their questions with these words to guide their thinking.
Incorporate role-playing scenarios that encourage students to ask questions. For example, they can take on the roles of scientists, reporters, or detectives, each with their questions to answer.
Great Tool Using Technology to Teach Questioning
Wonderopolis is an online resource that can be valuable for teaching young learners how to ask questions. This platform offers a daily “Wonder of the Day” along with articles, videos, and quizzes encouraging exploration and inquiry. It’s a fantastic way to engage children’s natural curiosity and provide them with opportunities to find answers to their questions.
As you introduce young learners to the wonders of science, remember that answering questions is an essential part of the journey. Foster an environment where questions are welcomed and celebrated. By nurturing their inquisitive minds, you’ll help them build a strong foundation in science and instill a lifelong love for learning.
In conclusion, engaging kindergarten kids through questioning in science is a powerful way to inspire curiosity, deepen knowledge, and lay the groundwork for a lifetime of discovery. Encourage them to ask questions, provide opportunities for exploration, and introduce them to resources like Wonderopolis to ignite their passion for science from an early age.
Full disclosure: This post has an Amazon link that is an affiliate link, which means if you purchase through that link, I receive a very small percentage of the sale.