A tool to encourage students to actively discuss in pairs.
- Music plays while everyone moves around the room. Participants can respond to the music if they wish.
- The facilitator asks the first of a series of prepared questions. Participants don’t respond right away, but think about their answers silently as they continue to move around the room to the music.
- When the music stops, participants each find a partner right away .
- If they don’t have a partner, they can jump up and down, wave their arms . . . make themselves known. It is important that the facilitator makes sure everyone has a partner.
- Partners have a brief conversation about their answers. When the music fades up, it is the cue for participants to wrap up their conversation and begin walking around the room again.
- When the facilitator sees everyone walking, they ask the next question and the process repeats.
- At the end, the facilitator gathers everyone in a circle and leads a group discussion about what was said or heard.
There are usually 4 questions that build upon each other. The first is a warm-up: a question related to the topic but designed to not be too personal or challenging. The successive questions delve deeper into the content. By the end you are getting into lively discussions that you will want to stick with for a while.
Here is an example of the Ask a Question tool used in The DNA helix module, to encourage students to think about the different kinds of bonds in DNA:
- What did you have for breakfast this morning?
- What do you see in your mind when you think about DNA?
- What do you think of when I say the word BONDS?
- With whom are your closest bonds?