The 5Ws and H – Questions, Questions, Questions!

  • SumoMe

The infamous 5Ws and H have been an integral part of journalism, storytelling and an uncountable number of TV police dramas, (Law and Order being the best, of course).  

5Ws and H Table

Additionally, for years this structure has been helping students ask targeted questions as they dig deeper into factual information and uncover truths.  In the 21st century, this routine is more versatile and as important as ever. It’s at the core of problem solving in the office place, evaluating what’s what in cyberspace, and identifying causal relationships.

Whether an ELL teacher or a physics teacher, you’ll encounter numerous opportunities to cultivate your students’ abilities to mine for information, make sense of it, and then arrive at conclusions. So let’s support the development and acquisition of these cross-disciplinary skills through whole class discussion, practice and guided examples.

Build Understanding as a Class – Implementation Ideas


Use the Short Answer and Multiple Choice features to ask questions of the whole class and deconstruct each W and H together. Have students respond in complete sentences and then collaboratively decide which answers are the best and discuss why. 

Use the Short Answer Voting Feature to narrow the class’ choices and focus on reasoning. Ask students why they like their choices and identify the key criteria in a student defined rubric.  Continue the discussion into the other components of the routine.  

Create 2 to 3 question Quizzes for post reading assignments, experiments and research. Ask for different components of the routine each time as you put the 6 pieces together over time.  These can be either multiple choice, short response or a combination of the two. Have students work in small groups or pairs and discuss their choices.

Design a 5Ws and H quiz for easy and frequent use to check understanding and create discussion.

Reminder: How to make your own “Quiz” activity

Log into your account -> Click “Manage Quizzes” -> “Create a Quiz

Design the Quiz and select Save & Exit

The Quiz will now be available in your My Quizzes menu.

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