Questions to Prompt Discussion and Reflection
  • What are you thinking?
  • What are you doing right now?
  • Why do you think that will work?
  • How did you solve the problem?
  • Is there another way you could do that problem?
  • What are you stuck on?
  • How did you figure that out?
  • What strategy did you use to solve the problem?
  • How do you make that happen?
  • What are you going to do next?
  • What would happen if...?
  • What gave you that idea?
  • Why did you try it that way?
  • Why did you choose that?
Taken from Pearson Math Makes Sense Others Questions:
  1. Do you understand the problem? What do you know? What do you need to know?
  2. How can you use mental math?
  3. Apply what you have learned to...
  4. Check your answer.

Developing Mathematical Thinking with Effective Questions (original source)

To help students build confidence and rely on their own understanding, ask…
• Why is that true?
• How did you reach that conclusion?
• Does that make sense?
• Can you make a model to show that?

To help students learn to reason mathematically, ask…
• Is that true for all cases? Explain.
• Can you think of a counterexample?
• How would you prove that?
• What assumptions are you making?

To check student progress, ask…
• Can you explain what you have done so far? What else is there to do?
• Whey did you decide to use this method?
• Can you think of another method that might have worked?
• Is there a more efficient strategy?
• What do you notice when…?
• Why did you decide to organize your results like that?
• Do you think this would work with other numbers?
• Have you thought of all the possibilities? How can you be sure?

To help students collectively make sense of mathematics, ask…
• What do you think about what _ said?
• Do you agree? Why or why not?
• Does anyone have the same answer but a different way to explain it?
• Do you understand what _ is saying?
• Can you convince the rest of us that your answer makes sense?

To encourage conjecturing, ask…
• What would happen if…? What if not?
• Do you see a pattern? Can you explain the pattern?
• What are some possibilities here?
• Can you predict the next one? What about the last one?
• What decision do you think he/she should make?

To promote problem solving, ask…
• What do you need to find out?
• What information do you have?
• What strategies are you going to use?
• Will you do it mentally? With pencil and paper? Using a number line?
• Will a calculator help?
• What tools will you need?
• What do you think the answer or result will be?

To help when students get stuck, ask…
• How would you describe the problem in your own words?
• What do you know that is not stated in the problem?
• What facts do you have?
• How did you tackle similar problems?
• Could you try it with simpler numbers? Fewer numbers? Using a number line?
• What about putting things in order?
• Would it help to create a diagram? Make a table? Draw a picture?
• Can you guess and check?
• Have you compared your work with anyone else? What did other members of your group

To make connections among ideas and applications, ask…
• How does this relate to…?
• What ideas that we have learned before were useful in solving this problem?
• What uses of mathematics did you find in the newspaper last night?
• Can you give me an example of…?

To encourage reflection, ask…
• How did you get your answer?
• Does you answer seem reasonable? Why or why not?
• Can you describe your method to us all? Can you explaining why it works?
• What if you had started with… rather than…?
• What if you could only use…?
• What have you learned or found out today?
• Did you use or learn any new words today? What did they mean? How do you spell
• What are the key points or big ideas in this lesson?

To help students build confidence and rely on their own understanding, ask…
• Why is that true?
• How did you reach that conclusion?
• Does that make sense?
• Can you make a model to show that?