Forty Best-practices Instructional Activities

Questions for Details
5 W's and H Strategy
Students brainstorm questions for research. Using the 5 W's and H strategy (Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How) encourages them to list a variety of questions.
Back to
40 Best-practices
Instructional Activities


Procedures: Create a chart that includes the following categories:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • How?

Invite students to brainstorm questions that begin with the words: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? Have them read informational texts to find answers to the questions they brainstormed.

Sample Application: Have students imagine that they've been hired as scientists to write a fact book about how monarch migration. Ask students, "What questions would a reader have about monarch migration?" Have students work with a partner to generate a list of possible questions about this topic. Encourage them to brainstorm a variety of questions using the 5 W's and H strategy: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? Ask for volunteers to share their lists. After students have shared their ideas, ask: "How do you think these questions would help you write a fact book about monarch migration?" Introduce the text by reading aloud its title. Invite students to think about their brainstormed questions: "Based on the title, which questions do you think will be answered in this article?" Encourage students to place a star by the questions they choose.

Variations: Revisit the brainstormed questions to identify main ideas and details in reading selections. Invite students to use the details that answer the questions to summarize their discoveries.

Reading Strategies: Activate Prior Knowledge, Set a Purpose for Reading, Build Vocabulary, Identify Main Ideas and Details, Summarize Information, Synthesize Ideas, Make Connections

Sample: See Questions for Details in Action!

Sample questions:

  • Who tracks monarchs on their seasonal journeys?
  • What do monarchs need to survive?
  • When do monarchs begin their journey south to Mexico?
  • Where are monarchs sighted at different times of the year?
  • Why do monarchs migrate?
  • How can we ensure that monarchs survive and thrive now and in the future?