Essential questions


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Essential questions

  1. 1. What Are Theyand How DoYou Write Them?By Mary Alice Osborne,the “Facing History andOurselves Team,” andLinda FooteEssentialQuestions
  2. 2. What is an Essential Question? Students have tothink critically toanswer an essentialquestion. Insteadof simply looking upanswers, theyconduct researchand create originalanswers.
  3. 3.  ProvokesDeepThoughtAn EssentialQuestion:
  4. 4. An Essential Question: Solicitsinformation-gatheringandevaluation ofdata
  5. 5. An Essential Question: Encouragesstudents toproduceoriginal ideasrather thanpredeterminedanswers
  6. 6. An Essential Question: Helpsstudentsconductproblem-relatedresearch
  7. 7. An Essential Question: May nothave ananswer
  8. 8. An Essential Question: Encouragescritical thinking,not justmemorizationof facts
  9. 9. Think: Bloom’s Taxonomy
  10. 10. Who’s Doing the Learning?
  11. 11. Some Examples: NOT Essential: What is it like to live in Hong Kong Essential: Which city in Southeast Asia is the best place tolive? NOT Essential: What is AIDS? Essential: Which serious disease most deserves researchfunding? NOT Essential: When was the Declaration ofIndependence signed? Essential: What ideas in the Declaration of Independencehave become American traditions?
  12. 12. “What If” Questions: What if the CulturalRevolution hadnever happened? What if studentsdidn’t have to goto school?
  13. 13. “Should Questions”A Moral or Practical Decision based on Evidence Should we clonehumans? Should we discontinuetrade with countriesthat abuse humanrights? Should Wilbur run forfreedom?
  14. 14. “Why Questions:Understand Cause and Effect Why do peopleabuse drugs? Why is the deathrate higher in oneThird World countrythan another?
  15. 15. Traits of Essential Questions: Open ended: not usually answered with a simpleyes or no, or right answer. Made explicit to students: referred to oftenduring units Deliberately framed to engage students Connect to students’ lives and past, present, orfuture experiences Used to design curriculum. Activities andmaterials should be selected based on how theyhelp students explore the essential questions ofthe unit.
  16. 16. Essential Questions in History What choices do people make in the face of injustice? What makes it possible for neighbor to turn against neighbor? How are genocide and other acts of mass violence humanlypossible? What choices do people make that allow collective violence tohappen? Who decides how laws or rules are applied? How can we ensurethat laws and rules are applied to everyone in the same way? What are civil rights? Who decides? How can we respond whenour civil rights are violated? What can be done to strengthen thecivil rights of individuals and groups? What is race? How can ideas about race be used and abused?What can be done to counter harmful myths about race? How have ideas about race been used to decide who isincluded and who is excluded?Copyright © 2011 Facing History and Ourselves. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. Examples of 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…?
  18. 18. Culture: Values Beliefs and Rituals How do individuals develop values and beliefs? What factors shape our values and beliefs? How do values and beliefs change over time? How does family play a role in shaping our values andbeliefs? Why do we need beliefs and values? What happens when belief systems of societies andindividuals come into conflict? When should an individual take a stand in oppositionto an individual or larger group? When is it appropriate to challenge the beliefs orvalues of society? Are there universal characteristics of belief systems thatare common across people and time?
  19. 19. Social Justice Questions What is social justice? To what extent does power or the lack of power affectindividuals? What is oppression and what are the root causes? How are prejudice and bias created? How do weovercome them? What are the responsibilities of the individual in regardto issues of social justice? Can literature serve as a vehicle for social change? When should an individual take a stand against whathe/she believes to be an injustice? What are the mosteffective ways to do this? What are the factors that create an imbalance ofpower within a culture?
  20. 20. Questioning Resources Asking Essential Questions The Key to Understanding Essential Questions Themes and Essential Questions: FramingInquiry and Critical Thinking Asking Essential Questions
  21. 21. Questioning Resources Asking Essential Questions The Key to Understanding Essential Questions Themes and Essential Questions: FramingInquiry and Critical Thinking Asking Essential Questions
  22. 22. CreditsName Mary Alice OsborneLocation West Topsham, Vermont, United StatesWork Teacher Librarian at King Abdullah University of Science andTechnologyAbout Libraries are changing rapidly due to the incredibleinformation & communication opportunities that the Internetpresents. I want to use the new ideas of "Web2.0" to help bringlibraries forward to better serve their patrons.Website www.kslibrary.info