Student-generated questions: A meaningful aspect of learning in science

Christine Chin, David E Brown, Bertram C. Bruce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was conducted to (a) identify the types of questions that students ask during science learning, (b) explicate the role of students' questions in the knowledge construction process, particularly in educational discourse, (c) investigate the relationship between students' questions and approaches to learning and (d) discuss some emergent issues related to student questioning. Six Grade 8 students were observed during class activities, and interviewed before and after instruction about related science concepts. Students' questions included basic information (factual and procedural) questions which were typical of a surface learning approach, and wonderment (comprehension, prediction, anomaly detection, application, and planning) questions which were indicative of a deep approach. Unlike wonderment questions which stimulated the students to hypothesize, predict, thought-experiment and generate explanations, basic information questions generated little productive discussion. Problem-solving activities elicited more and a wider range of wonderment questions than teacher-directed activities. Although the students did not always ask wonderment questions spontaneously, they were able to generate such questions when prompted to do so.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-549
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Student-generated questions: A meaningful aspect of learning in science'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this