Challenging Questions: ‘Stretch It’

This week’s teaching tip is a questioning strategy which is based on when students get the right answer we are not done, instead the learning process continues and we ‘Stretch It.’  The reward for right answers is harder questions!  (taken from ‘Teach Like a Champion’, Doug Lemov)


‘Stertch It’ involves doing 3 things:

  • Making a habit of asking follow-up questions to successful answers
  • Asking a diversity of types of questions
  • Building a culture around those interactions that helps studetns embrace, and even welcome, the notion that learning is never done.

Asking follow-up questions in response to right answers enables you to push students further by applying their knowledge to new settings, thinking on their feet and tackling harder questions; this keeps them engaged.  It also enables us to learn more about a students’ understanding and to ensure that questions are differentiated by tailoring them to indivdual students.


There are 6 different categories of ‘Stretch It’ questions

  • Ask how or why; the best test of whether or not studetns’ answers are reliable is whether thay can explain how they arrived at the answer
  • Ask for another way to answer; when students solve it one way, it’s a great opportunity to make sure they can use all available methods
  • Ask for a better word or more precise expression; students often use the simplest language, offer them opportunities to use more specific words increasing their levels of literacy
  • Ask for evidence; by asking for evidence this supports a students’ conclusion, emphasise the process of building and supporting sound arguments
  • Ask students to integrate a related skill; when students have mastered one skill try and get them to link this to another skill
  • Ask students to apply the same skill in a new setting; once students have mastered a skill, ask them to apply it in a new or more challenging settings.