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Asking Questions to Promote Curiosity

Submitted by Lori Britt

This activity focuses attention on the intentionality of asking questions. A good question can help promote a rich and meaningful discussion and goes beyond talking “on the surface”.

average rating is 5 out of 5, based on 2 votes, rating(s)
White cat on white background and blue question mark on pink background

Learning Goals

  • Understand what constitutes “good questions”.

  • Practice developing questions that will surface new insights and perspectives.


Set Up: Prepare for the Activity

Select a complex problem that is important to the group.

Share the Identifying Stakeholders Worksheet as handouts or create copies of the file for each group.

Organize participants into pairs or small groups (3-4 ppl).

Begin by introducing the learning goals of this activity.

Step One: List Stakeholders for a Complex Problem (15 min)

A key way to promote broad knowledge of an issue is to ask good questions. How do we know what good questions are? One way to start thinking about questions is to identify what you assume people think about an issue and then develop questions to explore whether or not that is the case.

Share the complex problem and invite each small group to first create a stakeholder chart for this issue using the worksheet.

Then ask them to answer the following questions:

  • How do you think each stakeholder defines the issue?

  • What do you think are their major concerns?

Ask them to also think about and list sources that led them to these perceptions (such as media accounts, personal experience, knowledge they have gained in their education, others).

Step Two: Identify Key Stakeholders (10 min)

Invite each group to think about what questions they can ask each group of stakeholders to help unearth the concerns and hopes they have regarding this issue.

Then, ask them to identify which stakeholders it would be very important to try and communicate with directly regarding this issue. Have each small group write their top 5 stakeholders on a whiteboard, shared screen, or other surface visible to everyone.

Step Three: Craft Specific Questions for Specific Stakeholders (20 min)

Select a few of the different stakeholders listed and assign each small group one of these stakeholders.

Each group is tasked with writing good questions tailored for their specific stakeholder. Highlight that a good question offers insight into the stakeholder’s perspective and helps us to understand how they make sense of the issue.

Share the Question Chart showing a few types of questions that can help support collaborative learning about an issue from stakeholders. Examples oriented around the problem of healthcare are offered to show how participants might write each type of question for a particular issue.

Step Four: Debrief as a Full Group (10 min)

Invite each group to share some of their stakeholder questions. Discuss:

  • Which type of question was most commonly used? Why is this?

  • Which question stands out? What caught your attention? What does this question do or make possible?

  • How would you revise one of these questions to go deeper?

  • What concerns do you have about asking specific stakeholder questions?





Culturally Responsive Collaboration

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average rating is 5 out of 5

May 28, 2024 at 1:33:05 AM

average rating is 5 out of 5

May 28, 2024 at 1:31:01 AM

average rating is 5 out of 5

February 14, 2024 at 1:03:34 AM

average rating is 5 out of 5

February 14, 2024 at 1:02:20 AM

average rating is 5 out of 5

February 11, 2024 at 3:55:15 AM

average rating is 5 out of 5

January 4, 2024 at 7:22:22 PM

average rating is 5 out of 5

December 12, 2023 at 11:56:40 PM

average rating is 5 out of 5

Lori Britt

October 3, 2023 at 5:00:05 PM

Have done this in the past, but today a group really blew me away. I did this as a Fishbowl with 7 students taking roles. Prior to the converstaion they could seek input from a few other students about what which decision they think the person in their role would support and why. I also asked them to come up with some things that were concerns for them. This 10 minute of prep time helped my role play participants really embody and feel confident in their roles. Great discussion about what deliberation looks like in practice and about how power can impact conversations and how a facilitator can try and minimize these power imbalances. I used the scenario above and assigned these roles (I was not sure my students woul be able to consider roles that would offer different perspectives): • Facilitator (non-voting) • Mayor • High school teacher • 17-year-old high school student • Transportation planner for the region • Local business owner • Economic development office for the region (your community and the surrounding communities served by the train) • 50-year-old who lost his job last year and who has been on unemployment

average rating is 4 out of 5


September 20, 2023 at 5:18:02 AM


average rating is 5 out of 5


September 20, 2023 at 5:17:25 AM

very good

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