Inquiry Based Questions Examples

The following is a list of inquiry-based questions that teachers can use with their students.

Inquiry Based Questions Examples

Summarize, identify the main idea, provide supporting details and give examples

Summarize the main idea. Identify the main idea and then give a brief summary of what it is you are summarizing.

Identify the main points and supporting details from the passage that support this summary by providing a few examples from each paragraph that relate to your summary statement or question.

Give an example of how you would use this information in your own life (or profession).

What do you think of when you hear the word ________?

  • What do you think of when you hear the word ________?

Use this question to help students learn about a topic and get them talking. This is an excellent question for getting students to discuss things that they may not have thought about before, or might even be confused about.

How is this like __________?

  • How is this like __________?

This question can be used to show how two things are similar.

  • How is this different from ____________?

This question can be used to show how two things are different.

  • How is ______ a subset of ______? (or super set)

In other words, what properties does A have that make it a subset of B? Or, conversely: what properties does B have that makes A its super set or superset (the terms “subset” and “superset” are interchangeable here)? This type of inquiry-based question is useful for helping students identify key elements, or “essential characteristics,” in a given situation by asking them to determine which qualities, if any, belong only to one thing and not both

Why is it important to know about ________?

In this type of question, you will be asked to explain what you know about the topic and why it is important. A teacher might ask you “Why is it important to know about the Great Depression?” or “What are some examples of how knowing about the Civil War was important in American history?”

In these questions, your job is to explain how your background knowledge contributes to your ability to answer the question.

Can we use what we’ve learned about ________ to solve a problem?

Using what you’ve learned to solve a problem is the ultimate goal of inquiry-based learning. You can use this standard in a number of ways:

  • Real-world problems, like the one illustrated above with the balloon, are great starting points for inquiry-based questions. You can also create hypothetical problems that students will be asked to solve using their knowledge from previous lessons or projects. For example, “If I were going on vacation for two weeks and I wanted to take a picture with me everywhere I went, how would I do it?” Students may come up with ideas like taking photos every day or having someone else take pictures while they are gone. They might also suggest other solutions such as taking pictures every week and emailing them home each day so they have them when they return home (or even asking someone else who is going on vacation at the same time).
  • A story provides another way of asking students questions about real world situations or hypothetical situations; however, instead of using an image or song as your prompt for an inquiry based question (as mentioned above), try incorporating text into your lesson by choosing something familiar like Dr Seuss books! Your child’s favorite book could easily become part of an inquiry based question designed around social studies themes such as weather science topics like hurricanes & tornadoes along with geography topics such as climate zones across various regions within North America (such as desert vs rainforest).

What would happen if _________ didn’t exist or if ___________ was not available?

  • What would happen if the Internet didn’t exist or wasn’t available?
  • What would happen if a cell phone was not available?
  • What would happen if electricity was not available?

Just some ideas for teachers.

  • Inquiry Based Questions Examples
  • Inquiry Based Learning Activities

Inquiry based learning is a pedagogical approach that encourages students to investigate their world and formulate solutions, learn through doing, and develop critical thinking skills. Inquiry based learning activities are designed to encourage students to ask questions, evaluate the answers they find and make inferences about those answers.


I hope this post has given you some ideas for how to use inquiry-based questions in the classroom. These are just a few examples of what they can look like and how they can be used. I recommend playing around with all the different types of inquiry questions available so that you can find out which ones work best for your students and make them excited about learning new things!

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