Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Carolyn Modawell


Students learn to ask questions and to listen to responses by interviewing people.


The student carries on a conversation with another person, seeking answers and further explanations of the other's ideas through questioning and answering.

The student retells specific details of information heard, including sequence of events.


-Note cards
-Tape recorders and tape
-Polaroid Camera
-Switch adapted recorder if needed
-Voice output device
-Newsletters, newspaper, magazine article interviews


1. The teacher will need to prepare some sample questions to help students come up with appropriate questions.

2. Supplies should be prepared and ready to pass out.

3. Generate a list of people willing to be interviewed by the students.


1. Divide students into groups of two.

2. As a group, review magazine and newspaper article interviews about people and their lives. Ask students how they think the authors obtained the information.

3.. Each group lists 3-5 probing questions (stay away from questions requiring a yes or no answer). Next, the students select an interviewee from a given list.

4. The students meet with and ask the person the questions. A picture will also be taken of the person being interviewed. Picture can be taken by the teacher or a student who knows how to operate the camera.

5. Depending on the age or level of students, the students write down answers and/or record the answers.

6. Students return to class and write an article &/or draw a picture of the person's answers. If they cannot remember, they refer to the tape or notes taken.

7. An article or story will be written about what the person said and their answers to the questions. The picture will be included. Each team will present the report to the class.


The finished project of an article or picture story should be the assessment item. Have the students first write a rough draft without reviewing any notes/tape to check how well the student listened. Have the students turn in their rough drafts so the teacher can check their comprehension and listening skills. Another option would be to listen to the tape with the students after they have presented their work to see if the information is correct. In this way the students correct their own work. If needed the students can listen to the tape again to make changes in their project. The number of times the student needs to refer to the taped or written answers to the questions will also be a good indication of how well they listened. For those students who do not read or write, they may verbally tell the class and/or teacher about the person interviewed. Afterward, they can listen to the tape as above.


ESE modifications:

A switch activated tape recorder can be used with physically challenged students. It can be used to record answers or to ask the questions if a voice output device is not available.
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