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Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience > Just in Time Teaching > Composing Questions
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Composing Questions


If you don't find JiTT questions that serve your purposes in existing collections, you can certainly write your own. The tool we find most useful in this process is Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning. This taxonomy classifies learning goals according to their complexity. The higher-order thinking required for goals in the more complex levels presupposes mastery of goals at the simpler levels. Keep in mind that the JiTT questions should take students only 15-30 minutes to answer; a total of 3-5 questions is typical, with a mix of cognitive levels. If all of the questions require higher-level thinking, consider using only 2 or 3 questions.

What Will Prepare Your Students for Class?

Before you write your questions, ask yourself: "What do I want my students to know, understand, apply, analyze, synthesize, or evaluate prior to class?" You may very well want to work backwards from the in-class activity you plan to use. In other words, what do your students need to have thought about or done in order to be fully prepared for that activity?

Note: All of the sample questions listed below are taken from our collection of Example JiTT WarmUp Exercises.

Knowledge and Comprehension

The most fundamental learning goals fall into the categories of knowledge and understanding. If all your students need when they walk into your classroom is content knowledge and the ability to explain important terms and concepts, your JiTT questions can target these cognitive levels. Sample questions:

Application and Analysis

When students have mastered knowledge and understanding, you can ask them to apply their knowledge or to analyze relevant information. If your in-class exercise requires application or analysis, you may want to give your students time to practice those skills prior to class. Sample questions:

Synthesis and Evaluation

The highest cognitive level requires students to synthesize information from multiple sources or to evaluate a situation. If you will be asking your students to think at this level during class, it's best to prepare them by asking them to complete similar tasks prior to class. Sample questions:

For Further Information

Bloom, B. & Krathwohl, D. (1956): Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals. Handbook I: Cognitive Domain. Full citation and bibliographic information.

Huitt, W. (2004). Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University.