Generating questions - Lotus diagram

Learning intention

Using an exisiting series of questions, students extend questioning and thinking about a particular topic (eg. Use questions generated by the See Think Wonder activity)

Students will:

  • Identify and select different kinds of questions about the past to inform historical inquiry 
  • Evaluate and enhance these questions 


This activity is part of the Define the task stage of the research process.



As a class, ask students to prioritise the 8 most significant ideas/topics or questions they have about a topic. Divide students into 8 groups and assign each group one of these big ideas/questions. Ask them to write this idea in the centre of a Lotus Diagram grid.

While students are working, write the 8 key ideas around the central topic box on one of the grids and stick this on the board or wall.

Ask students to compose different types of questions in each of the boxes around their central idea. See More to explore below for strategies to support question generation.

When students have completed their grids, place them around the corresponding ideas in the central grid to form the complete lotus diagram. This will highlight the number and range of questions that have been generated from the one image.

Students can use single grids (9 x squares) or a full lotus diagram for their own research, using an image, topic or question.

More to explore

Question Matrix template from VCAA

Question Sorts - A visible thinking tool used to reflect on the type of questions being generated in an activity

Jamie Mackenzie’s Questioning toolkit 

The art of asking questions from The Global Digital Citizen Foundation

Five basic question types from Leslie Owen Wilson

Thinking Tools Lotus Diagram video from Don Collins on Vimeo.