Essential questions

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Essential questions

  1. 1. How to write an Essential Question EDPC605 Fall 2013
  2. 2. What is an Essential Question? • 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: – – – – – provokes deep thought. solicits information-gathering and evaluation of data. results in an original answer. helps students conduct problem-related research. makes students produce original ideas rather than predetermined answers. – may not have an answer. – encourages critical thinking not just memorization of facts.
  3. 3. Why write an Essential Question? Links all facts and activities to help students understand the real-world connections. Helps to answers the questions that students ask: – Why do I have to do this? – When will I ever use it? – What does it matter if I know this?
  4. 4. Bloom’s Taxonomy • Essential Questions are found at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy (Bloom, 1954). • They require readers to: – EVALUATE (make a thoughtful choice between options, with the choice based upon clearly stated criteria) – SYNTHESIZE (invent a new or different version) – ANALYZE (develop a thorough and complex understanding through skillful questioning).
  5. 5. Depth of Knowledge • Depth of Knowledge is about what comes after the verb in your knowledge and skills. • Students will know that… • Students will be able to… • Dr. Norman Webb of the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed a hierarchy of content knowledge that is useful for analyzing the content and performance expectations we have for students. • Depth of knowledge refers to the complexity of knowledge and reasoning expected of students by the benchmarks. • It is critical that we understand the depth of knowledge required of our students by the benchmarks if we are to design curriculum, instruction, and assessment that fully meets those expectations.
  6. 6. What is Depth of Knowledge? The degree of depth or complexity of knowledge reflected in the standards/learning expectations and assessments How deeply a student needs to understand the content for a given response/assessment
  7. 7. Understanding DOK DOK is about intended outcome, not difficulty. DOK is a reference to the complexity of mental processing that must occur to answer a question, perform a task, or generate a product.
  8. 8. Webb’s DOK Model Level 1: Recall • Recall, recognition; skill, behavior, or sequence of behaviors learned through practice and easily performed Level 2: Skill/Concept • Engagement of some mental processing beyond recalling; the use of information or conceptual knowledge; requires making some decisions regarding how to approach a question or problem Level 3: Strategic Thinking • More sophisticated reasoning and analysis; deep understanding; students are required to solve problems and draw conclusions Level 4: Extended Thinking • Requires integration of knowledge from multiple sources and the ability to represent knowledge in a variety of ways; usually requires work over an extended period of time
  9. 9. DOK Example • Level 1 — Identify the tree. • Level 2 — Explain the function of the leaves. • Level 3 — Explain how a drought might affect the growth of the tree. • Level 4 — Design an investigation of seedling growth to determine the best fertilizer for this type of tree.
  10. 10. Webb’s Depth of Knowledge
  11. 11. Essential vs. Traditional Questions • Not Essential: – ―What is it like to live in Hong Kong?" • Essential – Which city in Southeast Asia is the best place to live? • Not Essential: – ―What is AIDS?" • Essential: – Which serious disease most deserves research funding?
  12. 12. Types of Questions • • • • • Which one? How? What if? Should? Why?
  13. 13. “How” Questions • Examples: – What are some sustainable solutions to environmental problems in your neighborhood, and how could they be implemented?
  14. 14. “What If” • What if questions are hypothetical, questions which ask you to use the knowledge you have to pose a hypothesis and consider options. • Examples: – "What if the Cultural Revolution had never happened?" – "What if students didn’t have to go to school?‖
  15. 15. “Should” Questions • Should questions make a moral or practical decision based on evidence. • Examples: – "Should we clone humans?― – "Should we discontinue trade with countries that abuse human rights?"
  16. 16. “Why” Questions • Why questions ask you to understand cause and effect. "Why" helps us understand relationships; it helps us get to the essence of an issue. • Examples: – "Why do people abuse drugs?" – "Why is the death rate higher in one Third World country than another?"
  17. 17. “Skinny” vs. “Fat” Questions • What are Fat Question? – Open-ended questions, which can be argued and supported by evidence. • Examples: – Skinny Question: "When was the Declaration of Independence signed?" – Fat Question: "What would have happened had we not signed it?‖
  18. 18. Open-ended Questions • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • How would you…? What would result if…? How would you describe…? How does…compare with…? What is the relationship between…? What would happen if…? How could you change…? How would you improve…? How do you feel about…? Why do you believe…? What is your opinion of…? What choice would you have made…? What would you do differently? Why do you feel…? How would you go about solving the problem…? If you were in this position what would you do? Why do you/don’t you support…? What could improve…?
  19. 19. How do you write an Essential Question? 1. Consider the focus of the unit or lesson activity: 1. Substance abuse, drug addiction, legal & illegal drugs (use your inspiration mind map) 2. Ideas for a good essential question: 1. 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?) 2. Begin with the 6 typical queries that newspaper articles address: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? 3. From these questions formulate your essential question. 4. Use: Which one? How? What if? Should? Why?

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