Formulate Questions

Students formulate questions or make predictions about concepts, strategies, and/or the relationships between topics or skills, and plan investigations to answer the questions as they take an active role in their learning.

As educators guide students through the Formulating Questions component of the Inquiry-Based Learning framework, they may refer to Figure 5 to give consideration to the planned level of student autonomy, taking into account student needs and educator comfort.

Inquiry-based learning begins with a question, a problem, or a wondering that is related to the big ideas of the curriculum.

Questions are used throughout the inquiry process for a variety of reasons:

  • Questions spark curiosity and engage students in their learning.
  • Teaching students how to ask questions helps them to develop the critical- and creative-thinking skills as outlined in the Living Skills in the Health and Physical Education curriculum.
  • For students to develop the skills for asking or formulating questions, educators need to model effective questioning techniques as part of their teaching practice on a regular basis.
  • Students’ confidence and competence are developed through their ability to respond to these questions.

Many terms such as “essential”, “framing”, “driving”, and “higher order” are used to describe the type of questions used in planning and delivering curriculum. This guide focuses on characteristics of an effective inquiry question and what it might look like in Health and Physical Education. For educators new to inquiry-based learning, techniques to begin integrating questioning in regular practice are also explored.

Did you know?

About 60% of the questions teacher ask are factual or recall questions, and about 20% are related to management of the classroom. Only about 20% of questions require students to engage in cognitive processes such as generating, integrating, synthesizing, and evaluating. 1

1 Ontario Ministry of Education. (2010). Questioning: Assessment for Learning Video Series – Viewing Guide (a resource to support the implementation of Growing success: Assessment, evaluation and reporting in Ontario schools, first edition, covering grades 1-12). Retrieved from