Experiencing science at fourth grade: Teacher questioning and its effects on student questioning and application

Suzanne Haltom Payne, Tennessee State University


This study examined whether a positive relationship existed between the amount of teacher training in questioning strategies (two days or extended training with support) and fourth grade students' ability to pose scientific questions and apply knowledge to new situations. Four fourth grade teachers volunteered to participate. Two were assigned to each group: control group (A1, A2), experimental group (B1, B2). Selected from these classrooms, 72 fourth grade students participated in the study. All teachers had already received two days training on four science kits. The two teachers from the experimental group participated in 15 additional one-hour training sessions on questioning. All teachers taught the Food Chemistry kit and the Animal Studies kit. They audiotape recorded a beginning and ending lesson for both kits. The teachers' taped lessons were transcribed; their questions numbered and classified into three categories as narrow, broad, and miscellaneous. These data were described in detail. The teachers gave a pretest and posttest to their students. These tests consisted of two parts, questioning and application. The questioning data were classified as narrow and broad. The application data were scored using a rubric. An analysis of variance and a Sheffe post-hoc test were conducted on the student data. The results of teacher questions showed little difference in the experimental groups' use of higher level questions. Significant difference was found in the student test data. The Sheffe revealed that a difference was identified, on both parts of the differential pre/post tests sections, between Group A1 and B2 for Food Chemistry. A difference between Group A2 and B2 was found on the application section for Food Chemistry. Due to the weak results from the experimental group of teachers, a conclusion could not be drawn about the student data. Other variables may have influenced student learning.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Elementary education|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Suzanne Haltom Payne, "Experiencing science at fourth grade: Teacher questioning and its effects on student questioning and application" (2001). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3007567.