F.L. Stanton Tigers

An Essential Question is Essential!

What is an Essential Question?

A question is essential when it:

1. causes genuine and relevant inquiry into the big ideas and core content;

2. provokes deep thought, lively discussion, sustained inquiry, and new understanding as

well as more questoins;

3. requires students to consider alternatives, weigh evidence, support their ideas, and

justify their answers;

4. stimulates vital, on-going rethinking of big ideas, assumptions, and prior lessons;

5. sparks meaningful connections with prior learning and personal experiences;

6. naturally recurs, creating opportunities for transfer to other situations and subjects.

Examples of Essential Questions:

History and Social Studies

* Whose "story" is this?

* How can we know what really happened in the past?

* Why do people move?


* When and why should we estimate?

* Is there a pattern?

*How does what we measure influence how we measure?

Lanuage Arts

* What do good readers do, especially when they don't comprehend text?

* How does what I am reading influence how I should read it?

* Why am I writing? For whom?


* What makes objects move the way they do?

* How can we best measure what we cannot directly see?

* How are structure and function related in living things?

Not Essential Questions:

* Who is Maggie's best friend in the story?

* What common artistic symbols were used by teh Incas and the Mayans?

* What steps did you follow to get your answer?

* What is a variable in scientific investigations?

* What key event sparked World War I?

* What are common Spanish colloquialisms?

Shannon O'Stricker

Instructional Coach

F.L. Stanton Elementary School