Get your students to create the questions for you with this CLIL activity

August 31, 2015


My students looked at me as if I had just started speaking Chinese.

 ” Isn’t that your job?” one of them asked, not really sure what to make of my question.

” Nope,”  I answered. ” This time it’s yours. Good luck!”

This was the way my students responded the first time I did this activity. I have been applied this many more times since this awkward moment and students are used to it right now. Yet, I understand their reluctance at first.

Teachers asks questions. Students answer. That’s the way world works right?

Not anymore!


This activity asks for a little bit more creativity from the student, but also requires a little but more prep time for the teacher. It’s worth it though.

With this activity you mention the answer of a question and ask students to come up with answers. In other words, you ask your students to create the questions. It is a great way to energize your students, as they are quite often not used to this type of exercise.

Also, if you discuss this activity in a bit more detail and are not content with the easiest answers, you work on higher thinking skills as well. The students have to beyond just applying their knowledge, they have to create new assignments that fit your criteria.

Applying the activity to your lesson

This is the procedure to follow:

  1. Pose the answer to a question on screen. Make sure all students can clearly see the answer
  2. Explain this is the answer to a question and you expect students to create the question that fits this answer (more than one question might be correct)
  3. Set a time limit and a word count for the question. You can also mention students have to think of a couple of questions. To implement language elements in this activity, provide words students have to use or avoid.
  4. Once the timer ends, the questions can be discussed. I like to ask a couple of students to tell me their question and will check how many more students had similar questions.
  5. As a follow-up, I ask students to create questions themselves and ask their partners to solve these questions. To be able to check the answers, students will have to answer their own question as well (making sure students don’t create impossible questions as a joke).
  6. Another way to motivate students to create the question good questions is to ask for them to create the question about a particular part of the chapter and mention you will ask one of these questions at the test.

Another way of using this activity

When I want to check for understanding or want to see which students are capable of higher level assignments, I give them part of an assignment (a picture, an equation, some numbers) and ask students to think of questions that can be asked using this information. The task in this case has more to do with filling in the gaps and be creative with these.

Lesson stage

I personally use this activity a lot during the individual work. Students first have to think for themselves before we discuss this, to increase the variety of answers as well as the difficulty rate. It can also be used very effectively at the beginning of a lesson to engage the students and offer them a slightly different way of starting a lesson.

Activity framework

You can download the framework I created for this activity ” Create the question” by clicking on the picture below:


CLIL Activity Create the question

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