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Essential Questions. “Know and understand are not synonyms.” Wiggins and McTighe, Understanding by Design. “Understanding is always fluid, transformable into a new theory.”.

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essential questions

Essential Questions

“Know and understand are not synonyms.”

Wiggins and McTighe,

Understanding by Design

understanding is always fluid transformable into a new theory
“Understanding is always fluid, transformable into a new theory.”
  • What we want students to be able to do is to take information and skills and apply them in new situations rather than “spewing back the particular fact, concepts, or problem sets that were taught.”

Wiggins and McTighe

Understanding by Desigh

slide3

“How does one go about determining what is worth understanding amid a range of content standards and topics?”Wiggins and McTighe, 1989 p.10

  • BEFORE you do your lesson plans, ask yourself, “What do I really want these student to know? What is the core nugget of knowledge that, when they are 32 years old and have forgotten most of what they have learned, will allow them to function in real life situations?”
an essential question
An essential question:
  • is a provocative question designed to engage student interest and guide inquiry into the important ideas in a field of study.
  • does not have one “right” answer
  • is intended to stimulate discussion and rethinking over time
  • raises other important questions
  • When using more than one, essential questions can be differentiated to meet student needs.
an essential question5
An essential question
  • “is an intellectual linchpin. A linchpin is the pin that keeps the wheel in place on an axle. Thus, a linchpin idea is one that is essential for understanding – without it a student cannot go anywhere” (71).
example
Example:
  • Topic – Martin Luther King
    • What events and people influenced MLK to become a leader in Civil Rights?
    • How did MLK change the world today?
    • What techniques did MLK use to persuade the world that his ideas were important?
    • How did MLK’s leadership and philosophies influence the US position?
two types of essential questions
Two Types of essential questions:
  • Topical – can be answered by uncovering a unit’s content. They stay within the bounds of the topic. They can be answered as a result of in-depth inquiry. Ex: After reading Merchant of Venice, answer the question: Is Shakespeare prejudice?
  • Over-Arching – Point beyond a unit to a larger, transferable idea. May link a topic to other topics and subjects. Ex: What in Shakespeare’s plays make them “classic” literature?
what makes a human country civilized
What makes a human/country civilized?

Unit – Renaissance

How did the music and art of the time influence the politics?

Unit – Holocaust

What factors contributed to this society that still exist today?

Unit – Middle Ages

Truth vs Fantasy: the feudalism, knights, castles, religion. What was the Middle Ages really like?

three types of knowledge
Three types of knowledge
  • Good to know; knowledge worth being familiar with; covered in class
  • Essential, important to know; uncovered in class
  • Enduring knowledge; has understanding beyond the classroom; student come to the realization
slide10

Grade 4

Unit:

Electricity;

Reports

Knowledge worth being familiar with; facts covered in class

Vocabulary: protons, electrons, friction, volts, etc.

Lightning facts

A circuit is a continuous loop of energy and motion.

Parts of a circuit

How has electricity

changed the world?

How is electricity an

energy source in

my world?

How is electricity helpful

and harmful

Static

electricity

is caused

by

friction/

transfer of

electrons

3 types of circuits:simple;

series;

parallel

Make up of a

molecule

Schematics

Enduring knowledge:

These have value beyond the classroom.

Student come to the realization.

There are different energy sources

and they all produce electricity

Knowledge and skills important to know. These are uncovered in class.

knowledge worth being familiar with facts covered in class

Grade 8

Unit: Role of

Government

Reports/

Persuasive

Knowledge worth being familiar with; facts covered in class

Vocabulary: self-interest, government, democracy, law, etc.

Federal/

state/

local

Why national parks were created

Enduring knowledge:

These have value beyond the classroom.

Student come to the realization.

Whose job is it

to solve America’s

problems?

Choose a national

park – Whose

job is it to preserve

this park?

Names and locations of national parks

How a law

Is made

The enduring

knowledge

question may

embed the facts learned in the other

parts of the circle.

What is the difference between government and committed group?

length of

terms of

office

Knowledge and skills important to know. These are uncovered in class.

Background – growth of industrialism

slide12

High School

Unit: Holocaust:

Reports/Persuasive/

Project

Knowledge and skills important to know. These are uncovered in class.

Nazi philosophy; fascism; totalitarian government; racism; anti-Semitism

Leaders

Courage to Care: Warsaw Ghetto; Denmark; Avenue of the Just

Enduring knowledge:

These have value beyond the classroom.

Student come to the realization.

Progression of laws

How do individuals,

groups, towns,

and countries make a

difference? How can

we make a difference?

Difference between bias, prejudice, discrimination

Events

The enduring

knowledge

question may

embed the facts learned in the other

parts of the circle.

Preparing for obedience: propaganda, role of education, indoctrination of people

Knowledge and skills important to know. These are uncovered in class.

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