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UBD 101. Essential Question. = a question that lies at the heart of a subject or a curriculum (as opposed to being either trivial or leading) and promotes inquiry of a subject. Essential Question (cont).

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essential question
Essential Question

= a question that lies at the heart of a subject or a curriculum (as opposed to being either trivial or leading) and promotes inquiry of a subject

essential question cont
Essential Question (cont)

- does not yield a single straightforward answer (as a leading question does) but produces different plausible responses

- can be either overarching (very broad) or topical (unit specific) in scope

consider the following questions
Consider the following questions:

- What is a true friend?

- To what extent does art reflect culture and shape it?

- Is everything quantifiable?

- To what extent is U.S. history a history of progress?

- Must heroes be flawless?

slide5
These are questions that are not answerable with finality in a brief sentence – and that’s the point. Their aim is to:

1) stimulate thought (about previously learned material)

2) provoke inquiry

3) to spark more questions (including hopefully thoughtful student questions)

a question is essential if it is meant to
A question is essential if it is meant to:

1) Cause genuine and relevant inquiry into the big ideas and core content.

2) Provoke deep thought, lively discussion, sustained inquiry, and new understandings as well as more questions.

a question is essential if it is meant to1
A question is essential if it is meant to:

3) Require students to consider alternatives, weigh evidence, support their ideas, and justify their answers.

4) Stimulate vital, ongoing rethinking of big ideas, assumptions, and prior lessons.

a question is essential if it is meant to2
A question is essential if it is meant to:

5) Spark meaningful connections with prior learning and personal experiences.

6) Naturally recur, creating opportunities for transfer to other situations and subjects.

slide11
In short, the best questions serve not only to promote understanding of the content of a unit on a particular topic; they also spark connections and promote transfer of ideas from one setting to others.
slide12
Essential Questions can be framed around 4 categories of big ideas relevant to effective skill learning:

1) Key concepts

“How do you know that you comprehend what you are reading?”

slide13
Essential Questions can be framed around 4 categories of big ideas relevant to effective skill learning:

2) Purpose and value

“Why should readers regularly monitor their comprehension?”

slide14
Essential Questions can be framed around 4 categories of big ideas relevant to effective skill learning:

3) Strategy and Tactics

“What do good readers do when they don’t understand the text?”

slide15
Essential Questions can be framed around 4 categories of big ideas relevant to effective skill learning:

4) Context of Use

“When should we use ________ strategies in our reading?”

tips for generating essential questions
Tips for Generating Essential Questions

- Think Jeopardy. Think of what you want them to know (enduring understanding) and make a question from that (essential question)

- Think topical essential questions (specific to a certain topic) then expand it to get broader and broader in scope

tips for generating essential questions1
Tips for Generating Essential Questions

- Derive essential questions from national or state content standards

- Use the Six Facets of Understanding as a framework for generating questions

- How many do you need? Think of a variation of the Marine Corps slogan: “We are looking for a few good questions”

key theme
Key Theme

Transfer

What is the purpose of middle school?

What is the purpose of high school?

What is the purpose of college?