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Question Formulation Technique

DCIs: LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in EcosystemsLS2.B: Cycle of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems; LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and ResilienceLS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans; ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions; etc.

SEPs: Asking questions (for science); Developing and using models; Planning and carrying out investigations; Analyzing and interpreting data; Using mathematics and computational thinking; Constructing explanations (for science);  Engaging in Argument from Evidence; Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating information

CCCs: Patterns; Cause and Effect: Mechanism and Explanation; Scale, Proportion, and Quantity; Systems and System Models; Energy and Matter: Flows, Cycles, and Conservation; Structure and Function; Stability and Change

CA EPs & Cs: 

Time: 1 Day, 30 - 45 minutes

Prep: Review Lesson PlanQuestion Formulation Technique (QFT), prepare second question board, coordinate with FWS Park Ranger**

Anchoring Phenomena

Essential Question

What role does the California condor play in the California ecosystem, and how do changes in the ecosystem impact condors over time?


Warm Up: Watch former* Santa Barbara Zoo Nest Biologists Erin Arnold in action!

*She is now a Wildlife Biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service at the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex

1. Intro:

  • Tell students they will have the chance to ask a condor conservation expert questions and receive written, video, or in class** responses. Today, we will develop good questions to ask.


2. Question Formulation Technique (QFT)

  • In small groups or partners, have the students generate as many questions as they can that they would want to ask FWS Park Ranger Daniel Cook when he visits their class (5-10 mins). 

    • Students can write their questions on post-it notes and/or pull questions from the Question Board, and place them on a new Question Board (poster paper).

  • Next have the Students grab questions off the new board and label open ended questions with an “O” and close ended questions with a “C”.

  • Have the Students change one open ended question to a close ended questions, and then one close ended question to an open-ended question. 

  • Have the Students generate new questions or keep good/refined questions on post-its and have them put these questions on the new Question Board.

  • Have student groups pick their top 3 questions from the Question Board.

  • Have each group share out their top 3 questions. Keep these questions on your Question Board for your Q&A with a condor expert*.

*Contact Park Ranger to request a Q&A:


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