I do like your approach, Merrilibrarian, brainstorming possible questions and then categorising the questions.
Possibly not suitable for grades 3 and 4 but probably suitable for your colleague’s grade 6s, Elizabeth, is to get the students sub-categorising the hardest questions, what makes them hard to answer? Thoughts that come immediately to mind are
> the information (data?) needed to answer these questions is difficult to find
> there is too much information available (suggesting that the question is too broad) so refinement or narrowing of the question is needed
> there are different points-of-view and/or conflicting information.
All could lead to healthy discussions:
> is the necessary information really impossible to find or is it a matter of search and find skills, knowing where to look, how to frame the search terms etc etc (might teacher or librarian might be able to find it?)
> how then to narrow or refine the question?
> how to frame the answer/s? are they all equally valid? do all viewpoints need to be discussed? does the question need reframing?
I’m also wondering, Merrilibrarian, if you (will) have situations where some of those easy questions turn out to be harder than they first appeared.
Beginning to get an appreciation of the messiness of research – and that this is normal?