Top tips: What If? activities
A question to make pupils think! Our What If? activities aren't designed for practical investigation, rather a fun way to help children place their ideas and thoughts in new contexts.
What if plants could move from one place to another? is an example of a 'What If?' activity.
How to run What If? activities
1. Get your class thinking with this fun question. This activity is good for developing discussion skills and having a broad question means you'll get a wide range of ideas coming from your pupils.
Introduce the ‘Plus-Minus-Interesting’ activity.
Plus – if pupils think the idea is helpful, they give a thumbs up and smile.
Minus – if they think the idea is unhelpful and might cause problems, they cross their arms and look annoyed.
Interesting – if they don’t think it’s good or bad, and need to think more, they look up and scratch their chin.
2. Share the question with your class and get them in pairs. So as not to limit ideas, ask them to discuss what might be a Plus, Minus and Interesting way to think about the question.
Stuck for ideas? Each activity will provide prompts to help you spark discussion with your class. Here's an example from What If Plants could move? :
- How could plants move?
- What would moving allow the plants to do?
- How would different kinds of plants move?
3. Ask the children to share their partner's ideas, explaining their thoughts, and then encourage a broader discussion as a class. Ask the class to do the Plus, Minus or Interesting actions for each idea, remember there is no wrong or right answer!
4. Now it's decision time! Ask your class which of the things you have discussed are the most Plus, the most Minus and the most interesting aspects of the question.
Image credit: Ryan Somma via Flickr CC BY 2.0