Open-ended Questions: Part 2 of 4 in our Makerspace series.

The scene…Your child is building a tower in your newly set-up makerspace.  You see your child is struggling, and your first impulse is to step in and fix it.  What should you do?  Before deciding think of this question, “What is the message I send to my child when I help him or her solve the problem instead of solving it myself?”  The answer, “You can!

Be a helping hand instead of fixing it yourself by using Open-Ended Questions (OEQs for short).  You’ll be able to coach your child through a specific challenge AND build his or her creativity, confidence, and problem-solving skills.  

But what is an OEQ?  How exactly do I use them? Read on!

OEQs are questions that require a non-yes/no answer.  They are super useful in a makerspace environment.  But, they’ll also come in handy during homework time, playing games, practicing three-pointers, or anytime your child is working toward a goal.  

These questions can help your child…

  • clarify his or her thinking
  • develop a deeper understanding of whatever the problem is in relation to the goal
  • brainstorm solutions

We’ve listed some examples of OEQs based on how you’re trying to help in the table below.

My challenge to you? Use at least one OEQ from the examples when talking to your child this week when he or she is working toward a goal.  Extra credit?  Add to the list of OEQs with one of your own.  Enjoy being open-ended!

If you want to help your child… try these OEQs:
understand their goal.
  • What is your goal?
  • What are you building/making?
  • What do you want it to look like once you’ve finished?
understand a problem
  • What exactly isn’t working?
  • Why do you think this is not working
  • What have you already tried?
come up with a solution to a problem.
  • What can you do differently?
  • What tools could we use to help you solve this problem?
  • How have you solved similar problems in the past?


6 thoughts on “Open-ended Questions: Part 2 of 4 in our Makerspace series.

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