Essential Questions for Students


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Essential Questions for Students

  1. 1. Essential Questions What are they and how do you write one?
  2. 2. What Is an Essential Question? <ul><li>Students have to think critically to answer an essential question. Instead of simply looking up answers, they conduct research and create an original answer. An essential question: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provokes deep thought. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>solicits information-gathering and evaluation of data. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>results in an original answer. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>helps students conduct problem-related research. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>makes students produce original ideas rather than predetermined answers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>may not have an answer. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>encourages critical thinking not just memorization of facts. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Bloom’s Taxonomy <ul><li>Essential Questions are found at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy (Bloom, 1954). </li></ul><ul><li>They require readers to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>EVALUATE (make a thoughtful choice between options, with the choice based upon clearly stated criteria) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SYNTHESIZE (invent a new or different version) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ANALYZE (develop a thorough and complex understanding through skillful questioning). </li></ul></ul>
  4. 6. Types of Essential Questions <ul><li>Which one? </li></ul><ul><li>How? </li></ul><ul><li>What if? </li></ul><ul><li>Should? </li></ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul>
  5. 7. “ Essential vs. Traditional Questions &quot; <ul><li>Not Essential: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ What is it like to live in Hong Kong?&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Essential </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Which city in Southeast Asia is the best place to live? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not Essential: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ What is AIDS?&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Essential: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Which serious disease most deserves research funding? </li></ul></ul>
  6. 8. “ How Questions &quot; <ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are some sustainable solutions to environmental problems in your neighborhood, and how could they be implemented? </li></ul></ul>
  7. 9. &quot; What if Questions &quot; <ul><li>What if questions are hypothetical, questions which ask you to use the knowledge you have to pose a hypothesis and consider options. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot; What if the Cultural Revolution had never happened?&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot; What if students didn’t have to go to school?” </li></ul></ul>
  8. 10. &quot; Should Questions &quot; <ul><li>Should questions make a moral or practical decision based on evidence. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot; Should we clone humans?“ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot; Should we discontinue trade with countries that abuse human rights?&quot; </li></ul></ul>
  9. 11. &quot; Why Questions &quot; <ul><li>Why questions ask you to understand cause and effect. &quot;Why&quot; helps us understand relationships; it helps us get to the essence of an issue. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot; Why do people abuse drugs?&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot; Why is the death rate higher in one Third World country than another?&quot; </li></ul></ul>
  10. 12. Skinny vs. “Fat” Questions <ul><li>What are Fat Question? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open-ended questions, which can be argued and supported by evidence. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Skinny Question: &quot;When was the Declaration of Independence signed?&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fat Question: &quot;What would have happened had we not signed it?” </li></ul></ul>
  11. 13. How do you write an essential question? <ul><li>Consider the focus of the unit or lesson activity: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Substance abuse, drug addiction, legal & illegal drugs (use your inspiration mind map) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ideas for a good essential question: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>may stem from your particular interests in a topic (e.g. What makes a drug “good”?, community resources (How is China dealing with substance abuse?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Begin with the 6 typical queries that newspaper articles address: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From these questions formulate your essential question. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use: Which one? How? What if? Should? Why? </li></ul></ul>
  12. 15. Examples of Essential Questions
  13. 16. Examples of Open-ended Questions <ul><li>How would you…? </li></ul><ul><li>What would result if…? </li></ul><ul><li>How would you describe…? </li></ul><ul><li>How does…compare with…? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the relationship between…? </li></ul><ul><li>What would happen if…? </li></ul><ul><li>How could you change…? </li></ul><ul><li>How would you improve…? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you feel about…? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you believe…? </li></ul><ul><li>What is your opinion of…? </li></ul><ul><li>What choice would you have made…? </li></ul><ul><li>What would you do differently? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you feel…? </li></ul><ul><li>How would you go about solving the problem…? </li></ul><ul><li>If you were in this position what would you do? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you/don’t you support…? </li></ul><ul><li>What could improve…? </li></ul>
  14. 17. Culture: Values, Beliefs & Rituals <ul><li>How do individuals develop values and beliefs? </li></ul><ul><li>What factors shape our values and beliefs? </li></ul><ul><li>How do values and beliefs change over time? </li></ul><ul><li>How does family play a role in shaping our values and beliefs? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we need beliefs and values? </li></ul><ul><li>What happens when belief systems of societies and individuals come into conflict? </li></ul><ul><li>When should an individual take a stand in opposition to an individual or larger group? </li></ul><ul><li>When is it appropriate to challenge the beliefs or values of society? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there universal characteristics of belief systems that are common across people and time? </li></ul>
  15. 18. Social Justice Questions <ul><li>What is social justice? </li></ul><ul><li>To what extent does power or the lack of power affect individuals? </li></ul><ul><li>What is oppression and what are the root causes? </li></ul><ul><li>How are prejudice and bias created? How do we overcome them? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the responsibilities of the individual in regard to issues of social justice? </li></ul><ul><li>Can literature serve as a vehicle for social change? </li></ul><ul><li>When should an individual take a stand against what he/she believes to be an injustice? What are the most effective ways to do this? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the factors that create an imbalance of power within a culture? </li></ul>
  16. 19. Questioning Resources <ul><li>Asking Essential Questions </li></ul><ul><li>The Key to Understanding Essential Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Themes and Essential Questions: Framing Inquiry and Critical Thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Asking Essential Questions </li></ul>