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Guided Peer Questions


This group questioning activity helps students to learn effectively from a teacher presentation or a text. When engaged in Guided Peer Questioning, students are able to process, clarify, and extend the content of a presentation through structured interaction with their peers. The set of generic thought-provoking questions helps ensure that students will engage in deep thinking skills such as analysis and evaluation, and the transparency of the process helps students to develop metacognition.


Catherine Ullman-Shade

Learning Strategies 

  • Predicting
  • Questioning
Self-Questioning, Generating Questions

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation

Common Core Instructional Shifts 

  • Metacognition


Create a handout, sets of index cards, or large display of generic thought- provoking questions. See attached examples of generic thought-provoking questions. • Identify and prepare the lecture, presentation, film, or text that you would like students to process through Guided Peer Questioning.

Activity Steps 
  1. Teacher displays or passes out a set of generic thought-provoking questions to students.

    If this is a new activity for students, you will probably want to model completing these questions based on a familiar text or topic, and lead students in a discussion about how these generic sentence stems can lead to better questions. If students are familiar with this activity, you can simply distribute the generic question stems.

  2. Teacher gives the lecture or presentation, or students read the target text.

    Encourage students to begin generating questions as they listen or read if they think of them.

  3. Individually, each student writes several questions about the content of the presentation or text using the provided generic sentence stems.

    During this time, you can circulate and listen to students’ ideas and what they are noticing. You can also help them to clarify or extend their thinking.

  4. In pairs or small groups, students take turns asking and answering their generated questions.

    Instruct students that if their partner cannot answer a question, they should ask an easier or related question and then gradually build up to the original question again. This process will probably have to be modeled for the students until they have adequate practice at it. Also encourage students to explain concepts to their peers until everyone arrives at the same level of understanding. You may choose to allow students access to resources to answer questions they are not sure about.

  5. Students reflect on their learning in writing or in conversation.

    Students respond to questions such as: · How did the generic questions help you to write thought-provoking questions? · What is meant by a “thought-provoking question”? · How did writing and answering these questions help you to understand and remember the material? · How did working with a peer help you to understand and remember the material? · How did answering your peer’s questions help you to understand and learn the material? · In what other contexts might this strategy be useful to you?

  6. Explain why… Explain how… What is the main idea of…? How could you use…to…? What is the significance of…? How valuable is…? How are… and …similar? How are…and…different? What is another example of…? What do you think would happen if…? What would you do if…? What conclusions can you draw about…? What is the cause of…? Why? Compare…and…with regard to… How are…and…related? How does…affect…? Is…fair and just? Why or why not? What would be the best choice if…? What could you invent or create based on…? What are the strengths and weaknesses of…? When else have we seen something like…? Which…do you think is best and why? How is…related to…that we studied earlier? How is…related to something you studied in another class? Do you agree or disagree with the statement:…? What evidence do you have to support your answer?

Downloadable Resources 
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