Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Early Childhood Education Journal 49:3 (2021), pp. 375–384.

doi: 10.1007/s10643-020-01075-z


Copyright © 2020 Springer Nature B.V. Used by permission.


This study explores teachers’ use of questioning during collaborative science exploratory activities. We classified a total of 755 questions across 14 preschool science lessons implemented by four teachers by type (open- or closed-ended) and content (science- or non-science-related) while also recording the intended recipient. Results revealed that, overall, teachers primarily asked closed-ended questions to children during preschool science activities. While closed-ended questions outnumbered open-ended, science-related questions were more likely to be open-ended questions. We noticed this trend whether the teacher directed the question to a group of children or an individual child. Gender of the child recipient was also explored with no significant differences found. Results indicate that collaborative science exploratory activities may be an ideal context for increasing teachers’ use of open-ended questions. Background and training of teachers may also play a role in the use of open-ended questions in a science activity context.