America Will Run Out Of Good Questions By 2050

Questions are the lifeblood of my teaching. I hate to tell kids how to do something, and yet, like this author, I slip up, or time constraints cause me to give away too much, too soon. For those of us who truly see good questions as “kindling” to ignite our students learning, I gotta share the following blog!

Math with Bad Drawings

Or, Math Class is Too Full of Spoilers

In grad school, my wife took a class that assigned no homework. The topic was an advanced, hyper-specific area of research—the only plausible problems to give for homework had literally never been solved. Any answer to such a question would have constituted novel research, advancing the field and meriting a publication in a professional journal. The professor assigned no homework for the simple reason that there was no practical homework to assign.

This tickled me. I’d never thought of good questions like a fossil fuel. A nonrenewable resource. Built up over eons and consumed in minutes.


But the thought kept popping back up: Good questions are a resource. And in this new light, something started to make sense, an uncomfortable little fact that had nagged at me since my first year teaching.

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2 thoughts on “America Will Run Out Of Good Questions By 2050

  1. I teach a lot of online classes and I was laughing today over this very topic–questions. When they’re posed through a Discussion Board for a class, my first thought was I was unclear. My second was: If this was in a classroom, I’d relish the feedback and collaborative comments.

    1. There are so many intonations to questions, I think it would be difficult to be clear through written, online questions, but with a true give and take, it could happen! I love feedback, which Spurs me to give better feedback to my students!

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