Essential questions usually probe the deep and often confounding issues confronting us - complex and baffling matters that elude simple answers: Life - Death - Marriage - Identity - Purpose - Betrayal - Honor Integrity - Courage - Temptation - Faith - Leadership - Addiction Invention - Inspiration.
By Carol Burmester and Susie Myers
What are the Characteristics of an Essential Question?
The question probes a matter of considerable importance.
The question requires movement beyond understanding and studying - some kind of action or resolve - pointing toward the settlement of a challenge, the making of a choice or the forming of a decision.
The question cannot be answered by a quick and simple “yes” or “no” answer.
The question probably endures, shifts and evolves with time and changing conditions - offering a moving target in some respects.
The question may be unanswerable in the ultimate sense.
The question may frustrate the researcher and may evade the quest for clarity and understanding.
How Are Essential Questions used in Inquiry-based Lessons?
Using Bloom’s Taxonomy is the focus of these lessons:
Essential questions reside at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy (Bloom, 1954). They require students to EVALUATE (make a thoughtful choice between options, with the choice based upon clearly stated criteria), to SYNTHESIZE (invent a new or different version) or to ANALYZE (develop a thorough and complex understanding through skillful questioning). Essential questions spark our curiosity and sense of wonder. They derive from some deep wish to understand some thing which matters to us.
What Role Should Student Questions Play in Inquiry-based Lessons?
Students should come up with questions related to information they care about.
What Types of Student Questions Should be Observed During the Lesson?
Use WHY, HOW, and WHICH questions.
Cannot be a simple fact
Answer cannot already be known
Must have an objective
Cannot be to personal
How Can Teachers Incorporate Student Questions Into Lessons?
Use probing questions and open-ended questions to evaluate learning.
Find a question that has no answer or infinite answers.
Categorize the questions by brainstorming.
Teacher helps to refine the questions so that the topic is covered.
How Can Teachers Incorporate Student Questions Into Lessons? (cont.)
Teacher may need to ask leading questions to help students engage.
Have individual students write down their own questions.
Teacher asks clarifying questions.
Use of Technology (Grappling’s Technology and Learning Spectrum)
What is Grappling’s Technology and Learning Spectrum?
How might Grappling’s Technology and Learning sectrum relate to inquiry-based lessons in an eMINTS classroom?
What do experts say about the use of technology in inquiry-based lessons?
A three tiered learning system divided into Transforming issues, Adapting Uses, and Technology Literacy Uses
In Transforming Uses there is a student centered focus not teacher centered.
The teachers role is that of a facilitator.
Computers can support the variety of ways learners construct their own understanding.
They can work at their own pace.
They individualize their learning according to their learning style.
Bloom's Taxonomy and Critical Thinking Through Inquiry Based Lessons
Bloom's Taxonomy divides the way people learn into three domains. One of these is the cognitive domain which emphasizes intellectual outcomes. This domain is further divided into categories or levels. The key words used and the type of questions asked may aid in the establishment and encouragement of critical thinking, especially in the higher levels. Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum Project
Bloom’s Levels: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of information
Use a variety of sources:
Web / Print / Video / Hands-0n / Tools
Manage the process
Too much / too little
Grouping / scaffolding / learner levels
Use the 5 E’s
Engage / Explore / Explain / Elaborate /Evaluate
What types of evaluation could be used in inquiry-based lessons?