Kristin Komatsubara, Math/Science teacher, discusses the advantages of students brainstorming answers to difficult questions.
[MUSIC PLAYING] One of the big drivers of projects is student wonderings, and we invite students to share their questions and to share their ideas with a lot of different strategies. But one way that I use questioning is having students work in small group circles.
When I’m raising my hand, I feel less comfortable because I feel like I have the wrong answer. But when I’m writing it down, I feel like safer in a way.
So we’ll pose an essential question for students on the board, and we invite students to think about the question first and then silently write their responses on the board or write their questions on the board. Putting up those post-it notes so the rest of the class can see them and that way we look at trends in the questions that students are asking, and we can also use those questions to go back later during the project.
It gives students time to really think about their responses and their questions so that everybody has a chance to contribute to the discussion. So it’s good for students who don’t normally speak up in class. It’s good for students who are really eager to share their ideas.
If they don’t talk a lot, sometimes they have really good ideas, but they just don’t share it. So I know if I’m stuck and they like to share, like, a little bit, it helps me. And then I can share their ideas, and they get some credit for it too.
I think the advantage is you can really see students building on other students’ ideas. So there are a lot better about thinking about what the other student wrote and then responding. When we do activities with sticky notes, you can see their point-of-view or their thinking on the paper.
At the end of the brainstorm, I like to take pictures of students questions and then throughout the project we go back and we refer to those questions to help drive the project or steer the project in different directions. So another strategy we use is having students generate long lists of questions or ideas. We also use another strategy that builds off a central question or a central idea, and we have students do activities such as yes and.