Essential Questions for student rsearch

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Using essential questions to organize learning expeditions and individual student research projects.

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  • Is there enough to go around? Is history a history of progress? Does art reflect culture or shape it? When is it okay to disobey a law? What do we fear? Who owns what and why? Is biology destiny?
  • Using the collaborative knowledge building model, the individual research projects will add up to the unit content, and will be influenced by the essential question.
  • We study the Magna Carta because of the rule of law. Study the rule of law rather than just the Magna Carta. Or, study the rule of law as it has developed and been applied or ignored locally. If there is no big idea of enduring value, we might question what the topic is doing in the curriculum.
  • Essential questions point to key inquiries and the core ideas in a discipline.
  • Because we have connected the dots doesn’t mean students will see the connections. Because we have connected the dots in our minds doesn’t mean students will see the connections. “Washington had the daring to put [his Patriots] to good use, too, as he broke the rules of war by ordering a surprise attack on the enemy in its winter quarters.” Unearth: what were the rules of war in the 1700s? Analyze: In what way did Washington break the rules? Are there really rules?
  • Unearth: what were the rules of war in the 1700s? Analyze: In what way did Washington break the rules? Are there really rules? Question: Who most benefited from the rules of war? Prove it: Did colonists regularly fight dirty, breaking the rules? Generalize it: What are the rules of war today? How do they compare to 1700s? Connect it: Is breaking rules ever moral? Picture it: Are the rules of football similar to the rules of war? Why or why not? Extend it: Are their economic rules of war today?
  • Essential Questions for student rsearch

    1. 1. Essential Questions Adapted from Understanding by Design By Grant Wiggins And Jay McTighe Association for Supervision and Curriculum Design Copyright © 1998
    2. 2. Essential Questions <ul><li>Represents a big idea </li></ul><ul><li>Resides at the heart of the discipline </li></ul><ul><li>Requires uncoverage </li></ul><ul><li>Potentially engaging for students </li></ul>
    3. 3. If the textbook is the answer. . . What was the question?
    4. 4. Essential Questions The characteristic danger of project-based instruction is that it easily degenerates into an incoherent sequence of activities.
    5. 5. Essential Questions Questions that “pose dilemmas, subvert obvious or canonical “truths” or force incongruities upon our attention.” Jerome Bruner <ul><li>From whose viewpoint are we seeing this? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we know when we know? What’s the evidence? </li></ul><ul><li>How are things, events, or people connected? What is cause and what is effect? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s new and what’s old. Have we encountered this idea before? </li></ul><ul><li>So what? Why does it matter? </li></ul><ul><li>Deborah Meier </li></ul>
    6. 6. Unit Questions More topic specific than essential questions: Essential Question : Who is a friend? Unit Questions : In A Separate Peace , is Gene a friend to Phineas? Is Phineas a friend to Gene?
    7. 7. Unit Questions <ul><li>What were the differences in television news between 1962 and 1968? </li></ul><ul><li>How was the 1968 Democratic Convention affected by the Vietnam War? How did this Convention affect America? </li></ul><ul><li>How were local veterans personally affected by the Vietnam War? </li></ul><ul><li>How did local people on the homefront respond to the turbulence of the 1960s? </li></ul>
    8. 8. Research Questions Narrow focus appropriate for student research project: Essential Question : How was America changed by the sixties? Unit Question : How did people on the homefront experience the 1960s. Research Question : What does a local veteran say about his experience?
    9. 9. A big idea of enduring value <ul><li>An idea that is essential for understanding a topic </li></ul><ul><li>The Rule of Law </li></ul><ul><li>The Meaning of Loyalty </li></ul><ul><li>The Definition of Success </li></ul>
    10. 10. At the heart of the discipline Involves students in “doing” the discipline, using the same processes as experts Is history always biased? Does Montana literature reflect our culture, or does it shape it?
    11. 11. Requires uncoverage <ul><li>Uncover non-obvious meanings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Question it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prove it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Generalize it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connect it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Picture it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extend it </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Requires uncoverage “ Washington had the daring to put [his Patriots] to good use, too, as he broke the rules of war by ordering a surprise attack on the enemy in its winter quarters”
    13. 13. Potential for engaging students What are the issues adolescents are dealing with? Friendship Romantic Love Independence Some topics are too abstract and global
    14. 14. Michael L Umphrey [email_address] 406 745-2600 http://www.edheritage.org

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