Identifing those questions that will
best guide your investigation

The second stage in the FOSIL Inquiry Cycle, Wonder is often skimped on by educators who know what question they want students to answer, but have not grasped how important the questioning stage is if students are to take ownership of the inquiry for themselves. Even if your inquiry has a single, overarching teacher-defined question (and some may not), an important part of engaging with the process is to help students to break that question down into a series of smaller questions that they understand how to go about looking for answers to. This is usually the point where students feel optimistic and excited, so careful work here will sustain them through Investigate where they should initially expect to feel somewhat confused and frustrated.
Students can nurture an inquiry stance when they are encouraged to follow up on their own curiosities and are guided to develop questions that fill gaps in their own knowledge and that matter to them.

Connect ← Previous | Wonder | Next → Investigate


  • Creating a list of questions thrown up by the original statement of inquiry together
  • If working in groups, dividing responsibility for answering various sub-questions among team members
  • Teaching students to develop deeper questions by asking “What if?” “Why?” and “So what?”
  • Where students are coming up with their own inquiry question, helping them to generate questions that fit assessment criteria. It is important to explore lines of inquiry at this stage, but for more open inquiries the precise wording of the final question is only likely to emerge at some point between Investigate and Construct.

For more in-depth articles into the educational
theory underlying inquiry, visit our

Epistemology and Learning Memos