If you’re like most teachers, you probably asked between 300 and 400 questions today! Hopefully one of those questions was an “essential” question. An essential question is important as well as relevant. While most of your questions may be important, to be called “essential” a question must meet certain criteria.
Lead to more questions
Can be re-visited again and again
Engage the learner
Some essential questions cover an entire course of study. These questions will be quite general without focusing on a specific skill or topic. Most of your essential questions will relate to a topic. These questions are specific to a unit and should help guide the inquiry within the unit.
Because essential questions address the “big ideas” of life, it’s important to include them in your year-long and unit plans. Just remember that an essential question does not have one “right” answer. If you can Google the answer, you may have a great question but it won’t be an essential question!
For more information on essential questions, check out the website essentialquestions.org.