1. About the course

Welcome to the Course 

Pupils Questions in Science Education!


For an overview of the course, go to the Introductory Video and/or the Introduction and About the course 



YouTube Video

Target group
Teachers, Student Teachers, Educational Researchers, Educators

Start date
April 2017

End date
June 2017

2 ECTs

Teachers & Tutors
José Otero
Piedade Vaz-Rebelo
Carlos Barreira
Celeste Gomes
Júlia Morgado
Paula Fernandes


General instructions can be found in the User Guide



Helping pupils to understand subject matter is one of the undisputable aims of schooling.

However, developing a somewhat different capacity, namely awareness of the unknowns, is now increasingly recognised as an important educational aim.

In fact, knowing when one does not know is regarded as fundamental to important educational activities such as question generation.

Nevertheless, previous research has shown that it is rare for students to ask questions in normal classroom situations and that most of the questions asked are superficial.

Learning outcomes

After completing this course, you will be able to:

·       Explain the strategic role of pupil questioning in the process of teaching and learning.

·      Classify different types of questions.

·       Identify quality criteria for pupils’ questions.

·     Develop collaborative research on quality criteria for pupils’ questions

·      Identify barriers to pupil questioning.

·     Relate learning environments and resources to pupils’ questions.


The course is structured in modules.

Module 0. Introduction to the course
Module 1. Why is it important to ask questions?
Module 2. What do pupils ask? 
Module 3. What is a good question?
Module 4. Why do pupils ask questions and how can we promote questioning?
Module 5. Main results and course evaluation

Additional modules are also envisaged  to provide an in-depth analysis of learning environments and pupil questioning..

Each module includes a General introductionExpected learning outcomesStudy assignments and practical workResources, Assessment criteria and information about the Schedule: when and where.

In each module you are required to complete the Basic assignments, which include Study assignments and Practical workAdditional assignments as well as Additional resources are provided to allow for a more in-depth understanding of the topics.

Throughout the modules, you will learn to analyze pupils’ questions according to the taxonomies proposed, identify quality criteria for pupils’ questions, characterize the questioning process and identify strategies to promote this. 

You will also join a study group to develop collaborative research on the topic and gather and analyze data.

A collaborative final report will be produced, based on the individual assignments developed as part of the practical work associated with the modules.

Research questions

What questions do pupils ask when learning science and mathematics in school? 

Do pupils ask good questions in class? What can be considered a good question? Which criteria must be applied?

Why do/don’t pupils ask (good/relevant) questions in science and mathematics classes/courses?

How can we promote pupil questioning in science and mathematics classes/courses?


The course will last 10 weeks and involves 54 working hours (2 ECTs).

At the end of the course the participants will receive an electronic certificate of attendance.



We invite you to join the Open Course Ware developed as part of the SoNetTE Project!

The SoNetTE team