Essential Questions (often called EQs) are deep, fundamental and often not easy-to-answer questions used to guide students’ learning. Essential Questions stimulate thought, provoke inquiry, and transform instruction as a whole. Essential Questions often begin with, “Why,” “How” or “To What Extent” but may sometimes begin with other question stems. Essential Questions may spur inquiry into abstract thought or may guide students to relate their learning to the real world. Click here if you want to learn more about Essential Questions.
Objective: By the end of this video, viewers will have an understanding of how to use the Essential Question in a variety of ways to guide instruction during the beginning, middle and end of the lesson.
Essential Question: How can the Essential Question guide all stages of a lesson? How does the essential question deepen student conceptual understanding and guide students to obtain content?
Questions to consider as you watch the video:
- How does the teacher use the lesson Essential Question to guide the students’ learning at the beginning, middle and end of her lesson?
- How does the Essential Question make the content more accessible to the students?
- How does interacting with the Essential Question multiple times in different ways lead to student obtainment of the lesson content?
- How can I bring Essential Questions into my practice?
Tools for Essential Questions:
- Professional Learning Implementation Tool- Essential Questions
- EssentialQuestions.org Website dedicated to the use of EQs
Texts on Essential Questions:
- The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units (Wiggins & McTigh, 2011) Available from the Virtual PL Library
- Essential Questions and Understandings Module F (in above)
- Understanding by Design (Wiggins & McTigh, 2005) Available from the Virtual PL Library
- Essential Questions Doorways to Understanding Chapter 5 (in above)
- What is an Essential Question? (Wiggins, 2007) Blog post from Authentic Education
- Classrooms in Focus- Student Discourse
- Classrooms in Focus- Class Climate
- Coach’s Cut- Primary Sources
- Coach’s Cut- Framing the Learning
- Essential Question Videos from ASCD and the Teaching Channel
Have an idea or routine in your classroom for using Essential Questions you believe other teachers would benefit from learning about or seeing? Email PL, write “Essential Questions” in the subject line.
Tools & Templates used in the Lessons:
Mr. Kilmer’s Lesson Plan: Fractions Grade 1
Templates & SmartSlides:
Ms. Mayer’s Lesson Plan: Marshall Plan 6th Grade Social Studies
Long Range Plan: WWII Unit Overview
- Marshall Plan Primary Source Document
- Marshall Plan Pre- and Post-Reading
- Marshall Plan Document Based Questions & Reading