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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre & STEM Ambassadors's online course, Inspiring Young People in STEM: Communication Skills for STEM Ambassadors. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds [Marcia] Question three, what is the everyday name of the common chemicals that you find around the house. And this is to demonstrate that all around you, you’ve got chemicals. Ethanoic acid. Consumer for ethanoic acid? [Student] Salt? [Marcia] Nope. [Student] Vinegar? [Marcia] Vinegar, well done, right. Ethanoic acid, also known as acetic acid, also known as vinegar. Sodium chloride? Yes? [Student] Salt? [Marcia] Salt, well done. You put it on your chips. So when you go the chip shop you can ask for ethanoic acid, and sodium chloride. [LAUGH] [Tina] And so what’s gonna make it strong enough to hold things? [Student] So we’re gonna use different joints like a comb joint is more stronger than the other joints..

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 seconds [Tina] And do you think you’ll be able to manage that in the time frame? [Student] We’ll try [Tina] Okay [LAUGH] [Student] Right so we’ve got this here so yeah we’re gonna use dowel joints to put all of these together, so all of these pieces together yeah so. [Tina] So you’ve drawn a table, but how is that part of this [Student] Because this is the bottom part. I think we might add something to bottom part as well because this will be the part underneath the table. [Tina] Okay so you’re gonna keep it as a whole pallet. [Student] Yeah. We’re gonna use these tops and merge them together to make the table. [Tina] Okay.

Skip to 1 minute and 31 seconds [Shakira] What are the disadvantages of using wind turbines? Liam? [Liam] They’re quite loud. [Shakira] They can be quite loud, anything else. Alex? [Alex] They are expensive. [Shakira] There can be initial startup costs, yep. One other. Billy? [Billy] They look fairly ugly. [Shakira] Yes, exactly. They can look fairly ugly okay, so some people don’t really want them in their gardens or kind of around them because obviously it might kind of spoil the environment they’re living in. Okay.


We use questioning when communicating with others for many reasons. When in a learning or instruction situation, we generally use questions to:

  • Maintain the flow of the learning within the lesson/activity.
  • Engage students with the learning.
  • Assess what has been learned.
  • Check that what has been learnt is understood and can be used.
  • Provide an opportunity for pupils to share their opinions/views and seek responses from their peers.
  • Encourage creative thought and imaginative or innovative thinking.
  • Foster speculation, hypothesis and idea/opinion forming.
  • Create a sense of shared learning and avoid the feel of a ‘lecture’.


Watch the video of STEM Ambassadors and a teacher asking questions. Compare the purpose of the different questioning techniques.

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This video is from the free online course:

Inspiring Young People in STEM: Communication Skills for STEM Ambassadors

National STEM Learning Centre