Diagnostic Questions

Prior to starting a lesson unit, students are given diagnostic questions about a particular subject. On a piece of paper, students are able to respond to open-ended questions with both words and pictures. Diagnostic questions help students assess what knowledge they already have about a subject and what they would still like to find out. When students provide candid responses, teachers are able to gauge student understanding and plan more appropriate lessons.

Once students have written responses to diagnostic questions, they are encouraged to share their ideas with other students in their small group. Then, the whole class has a discussion about some of the initial ideas that are present. Documenting students' initial ideas about a particular subject is an important aspect of the learning process for both students and teachers. This is especially apparent after a lesson unit has been implemented. Students respond to the same diagnostic questions when the lesson unit is done. When students compare their responses from before and after the lesson unit, they are fascinated by the amount of learning that has occurred during class.

Diagnostic Question Topics

Throughout the term, diagnostic questions are given before and after studying several topics, including: light, reflection, heat and temperature, falling objects, motion graphing, and the sun and moon.

  • Light: How We See Objects
  • Reflection
  • Heat and Temperature
  • Falling Objects
  • Motion Graphing
  • Sun and Moon

Student Example

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