Learning Activity: Plan a Set of Modified Questions

Laurie: Is the intent here for the Modifying Questions template to be a downloadable? Also, did we speak to what modifying questions, super-steps and sub-steps are yet? Let’s chat about this activity as it may need some more context/instruction in front of it.

You already have many great questions in your tool kit – think about your experiences with other tour groups, your own planning process, and the kinds of things you want to know.

Choose an object from your collection that would spark a good conversation. If you can, have the object or a good reproduction nearby. Write down five interesting things about the object that could be used to fill out a conversation. Remember – think interesting rather than educational!

Next, brainstorm five to ten questions about the object. Think of ‘conversation starters’, open-ended questions that encourage observation, description, and a variety of answers. Avoid fact-based questions.

Choose two or three of the most engaging questions. Using the Modifying Questions template, enter your question in the centre and create modified questions.

First, write new questions that are progressively more complex to invite some imagination.

Next, write two or three questions that are progressively more specific, to assist a participant in answering:

  • Ask a question that is more specific to cue a participant in how to answer.
  • Rephrase the question to offer two choices.
  • Rephrase the questions to offer a yes or no answer that could also be thumbs up / down.

This will take a bit of thinking at first, especially as you try to make the questions feel natural and comfortable. When you are starting out, it is a great idea to prepare a series of super- and sub-stepped questions for each object in advance, so you are ready.