Take a look at the following playlist to tackle one individually or together that inspires you to learn more about Essential Questions. Regardless of which challenge you select, you begin to see that the heart of an essential question is to uncover depth and richness of a topic, skill, or idea. We design Essential Questions to open up space in the classroom for wonderment, exploration, investigation, and creation based on big ideas at the heart of the content.
Each challenge requires you to examine texts, find inspiration and share your responses. These will be shared with your colleagues so be candid, be open, and be professional.
Playlist of Challenges
Challenge #1: Powerful Questions, No Clean Answers
First, take a look at Chris Anderson’s Ted Talk: Questions No One Knows the Answers to to get inspired.
Then, go hunting for questions that are truly innovative, perplexing, and/or seemingly impossible (so far). Add why you think this question matters and what age level or subject area it may be applicable using this Google Form.
Challenge #2: Watch the following video(s) through the lens of the following themes:
- Role of essential questions
- Essential questions as a goal
- How it creates more of a learning partnership
Describe one of the themes in more detail by clicking on this Google Doc.
Essential Questions, Part 2 from Authentic Education on Vimeo.
Essential Questions (ASCD DVD, 2013) 45-minutes from OAV on Vimeo.
Challenge #3: Read the following article authored by Grant Wiggins and Denise Wilbur.
How to Make Your Questions Essential
Then, take an existing or an idea for an essential question and make sure it lines up with the criteria.
- Does it stimulate ongoing thinking and inquiry?
- Is it arguable, with multiple plausible answers?
- Does it raise further questions?
- Does it spark discussion and debate?
- Does it demand evidence and reasoning because varying answers exist?
- Does it point to big ideas and pressing issues.
- Could it fruitfully recur throughout the unit or year?
- Could the answers change in light of new experiences and deepening understanding?
Once you are satisfied, please enter the Essential Question using the following Google Form. The questions designed on this day will be made available to the full staff.