WHY ask Essential Questions?

Science Dept Meeting

Tue, March 14, 2006

What lasts, remembering or thinking? Why?

Essential Questions

    Unit….. Part of our new curriculum format


    Lesson… proven way of organizing a lesson!


Essential Questions

What questions –

  are arguable - and important to argue about?

  are at the heart of the subject?

  recur - and should recur - in professional work, adult life, as well as in classroom inquiry?

  raise more questions – provoking and sustaining engaged inquiry?

  often raise important conceptual or philosophical issues?

  can provide organizing purpose for meaningful & connected learning?

Essential vs. “leading” Q’s used in teaching (Stage 3)

     Essential - STAGE 1

  Asked to be argued

  Designed to “uncover” new ideas, views, lines of argument

  Set up inquiry, heading to new understandings

     Leading - STAGE 3

  Asked as a reminder, to prompt recall

  Designed to “cover” knowledge

  Point to a single, straightforward fact - a rhetorical question

Sample Essential Questions:

  Who are my true friends - and how do I know for sure?

  How “rational” is the market?

  Does a good read differ from a ‘great book’? Why are some books fads, and others classics?

  To what extent is geography destiny?

  Should an axiom be obvious?

  How different is a scientific theory from a plausible belief?

  What is the government’s proper role?

Enduring Understandings:
How people deal with other people affects their future.
Some form of conflict will be present in all lives at some point.
Conflict does not just affect humans.

Essential Question:
What role did conflict play in development of the Constitution of the United States?

Essential Questions
Suffield Science

     1)How does matter and energy flow through the earth systems and how do we interact with it?


     2) How do living organisms function and evolve?


     3) How is matter transformed and how does it affect us?


      How do we know and can show where we are on Earth?

      How does soil composition affect land use decision making?

      How are land use decisions made?

      How does water quality affect land use decision making?

      How does land use decision making affect water quality?

      How does tectonic plate activity affect land use?

      How do atoms come together to form matter?

      How do we use resources to make polymers?

      How do polymers affect the environment?

      How does the Earth system affect the atmosphere?      

       How does human activity affect the atmosphere?

      How does the use of energy resources affect the environment?



      What are the characteristics that distinguish living from non-living things?

      What is the relationship between living and non-living components of an ecosystem?

      How does human activity impact Earth’s ecosystems?

      What are the processes responsible for life’s unity and diversity?

      What is evolution? How do we know how things have evolved?

      How are organisms classified?

      What are the basic principles of chemistry? What are the structures and functions of biologically important compounds?

      How are living cells organized? How do living cells reproduce?

      How do plants convert, store, and use energy?

      How do living things obtain energy from nutrients?

      How do the systems of the human body function together to support life?




     What is matter?

     How is matter organized?

     How do chemical reactions affect our lives?

     What are the applications of the kinetic molecular theory?

     How do we make materials?

     How does matter and energy flow in chemical reactions?

     Should we use nuclear energy?



     How do we observe motion?

     What factors affect moving objects?

     How can we analyze accelerated objects?

     How does physics apply to traffic?

     How can we use physics to analyze collisions?

     How much energy do you use in a week?

     How do energy transformations affect your life?

     Should we use complex machines?

     What are the ways we analyze motion, heat, electrical and light energy?

     How has modern physics changed our view of the world?

     What are the applications of circular motion?