Session 7: Leading reflection conversations

How will you lead reflection conversations? :thinking:

Share your list of 5–15 questions to ask learners during the workshop or during wrap up. Check out other responses below for inspiration. :bulb:

My questions for during the workshop:

  1. What are you making?
  2. What have you tried so far?
  3. (If they’re having trouble) Have you tried…?
  4. How did you come up with that? or How did you get to that result/conclusion?
  5. Can you walk me through your thought process?

Questions for after the workshop/wrap-up:

  1. What did you learn today?
  2. Where did you have trouble? What did you do to solve it?
  3. If you could do this over, what would you do differently?
  4. How would you explain this project to a friend?
  5. What is your advice for future participants doing this project?

In my job I’m always asking people what they’ve tried so far and suggest some solutions. Usually that’s enough to get them out of whatever wall they’ve found themselves in front of, and they say how “stupid” they were for not realizing that sooner. I always remind them that no one is born knowing this (including me!), that they’ve done a lot of things right (or that I would’ve done), and so long as they keep trying, they’re doing amazingly.

As for answering like a participant… The one thing I would suggest to others in this is to do two Paper Circuits: one to get the idea behind it, and the other to perfect it. At my program this past Saturday, I had one person make one that worked okay, but the second one she made worked flawlessly. This was actually my coworker’s suggestion and I’m pleased to say he was right! :slight_smile: The more often you do something, the better at it you become.


I love your suggestion! The best part of working with inexpensive materials is that I don’t feel like I’m using up future opportunities to do other cooler projects. Creating a first version to make sure everything works is a learning experience.

In engineering, business, software, and even film-making, it’s called proof of concept, or proof of principle. So what you’ve facilitated is also a design and engineering practice! :partying_face:


I too like the suggestion! Sometimes it isn’t about creating the best version of your product first, rather learning the fundamental skills and common areas where things might need improvement. That way you have a better idea at what needs to be done for the next time.:bulb:


@adodd I agree completely!

@ada I love “proof of concept”! That’s so true, I completely forgot. Though I did refer to my testing with my teams as “alpha” (my team members who will lead this at their branches) and “beta” (my two branches where I lead). The alpha phase showed me a lot of the bugs that needed to be worked out - both on the project’s end and on mine - while the beta allowed me to refine things even further and see how well a non-tech group could handle it.

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My reflection questsions are:

  1. Tell me about what you’re working on . . .
  2. What is your favorite part?
  3. What was the biggest challenge?
  4. How’d you decide on [insert design feature here]?
  5. If you hadn’t done [insert design feature here] how would it be different?
  6. What did you learn?

In the programs that I facilitate, I like to ask participants to tell me about what they’re working on as it’s open-ended. Sometimes I get really long, detailed responses and sometimes I get a few words. The question allows the participant to decide what to share and shows that I’m not trying to suggest what they should have done or what they do next.


These are great reflection questions, @Trisha! While sometimes it may be hard to get responses out of participants, it it important to include these reflections within the programs. Even though some people may not want to answer share out loud, asking them to reflect on their work might start the process of them internally reflecting and help improve their future work.

love these questions :heart: :pray:


Here are my reflection questions:
Were you able to get your project to work?
How many tries did it take to get it to work the way you wanted?
Were there any adjustments or changes you had to make?
Do you think you always have to have a project look exactly like an example?
How did you feel about this project?

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@michelleb Thank you for sharing these. I like how they refer to the challenges of doing the activity, as well as the process of iterating!

Be sure to celebrate the troubleshooting process as a form of investigative play, even if your patron doesn’t complete the project.

Instead of asking “how many tries did it take to get it to work the way you wanted?” which prompts people to mentally count the number of attempts, try to probe their creative troubleshooting. Asking questions like, “What are the different methods you tried?” and “How did your vision for your project change as you worked on it?” helps to signal your interest in their creative process and improvisation. Plus it puts less pressure on them to finish their project in a limited time period.

Great advice! I will remember to use those questions.

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My 5 reflection Q’s might be:

What have you designed?
Why did you choose this design?
Did you have any trouble during the build? And if so, what/how did you fix it?
Is there something you would do differently? And why?

I always have a table set-out in the middle of the room with a bunch of supplies and materials (tools) for the kids to take & use. At first when we started with the new PLIX inspired format the kids were very hesitant to walk-up and take things. Now into our 2nd year working this way, the kids are getting better and they do move around the room to look at each other’s work. I make sure to remind them that these are prototypes and that they can make changes and improvements as they go.

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Hi @smford Susan, it’s so good to hear that the kids at your library are more comfortable with creative explorations. This really attests to your encouragements and building their confidence to just try it out.

In addition to your questions on the final product and the troubleshooting process, I would add things like, What was surprising? or What were your favorite bloopers? These can help focus on the explorative process and encourage having fun when things don’t go as planned!

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What great suggestions for the questions! I love the bloopers idea. Whenever someone gets a little stressed about something not going right, we talk about their process and how they can change it up. I tell them it isn’t important that it look like someone else’s or like my samples (BTW I’ve been doing less and less samples ahead of time). I want them to be encouraged to think freely.

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