What are Question Walls?

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What are Question Walls?

A question wall is a space in the classroom where students can write down their questions. A question wall is made by covering one wall of the classroom with butcher paper, or chart paper. The power of the strategy lies in the type of questions written on the wall as it indicates:

  • What students want to learn.
  • The information students need clarified.

Teachers can incorporate this questioning strategy in their classes as:

  • An entry activity: Students are instructed to write questions they have regarding the previous class. These questions can help teachers modify or structure the lesson to answer, clarify, or give more information to students.
  • An index activity: After introducing the title of a topic, teachers can instruct students to write questions about what they want to learn from the topic. For instance, if the class is studying earthquakes, a student’s question might be, “what causes earthquakes,” or, “how do we measure earthquakes?” During the lecture teachers can walk to the question wall and connect the information being taught with the questions.
  • Closure activity: At the end of class, students can be grouped into groups of 3-4 members. Each group is given 2-3 minutes to discuss and frame questions (summarizing information taught in class), and write them on the question wall. Another way is to conduct a tag activity. Each group can pick a number to decide their position in the tag race. Each team gets a minute to discuss and think of questions to write on the wall. A buzzer is sounded at 15 second intervals during which each team writes one question on the wall in their respective order. Teams are instructed not to repeat questions. The race continues till all teams have exhausted their supply of questions.
  • Real-world learning: An area of the question wall can be set aside for promoting real-world learning. For this activity, one student can write down a question and select another student (random name picking) to answer the question. While the question need not be academic, teachers can instruct students to write questions that will help them learn new practical information. The student selected for answering is given 3 days to find the answer and create a short presentation for the class. After presentation, the student is given the chance to write down another question and select a different student for answering.

With question walls, students can write their questions anonymously, enabling them to safely express their queries without drawing attention to themselves. The strategy is particularly useful as it stimulates students to think critically, and encourages active learning and participation.


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