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Secondary Teaching Resources » Essential Questions

Essential Questions

Essential questions stimulate thought, provoke inquiry, and spark more questions.
  1. A good essential question...
    Is open-ended; that is, it typically will not have a single, final, and correct answer.
  2. Is thought-provoking and intellectually engaging, often sparking discussion and debate.
  3. Calls for higher-order thinking, such as analysis, inference, evaluation, prediction. It cannot be effectively answered by recall alone.
  4. Points toward important, transferable ideas within (and sometimes across) disciplines.
  5. Raises additional questions and sparks further inquiry.
  6. Requires support and justification, not just an answer.
  7. Recurs over time; that is, the question can and should be revisited again and again.
Additional information:
  • Frame key learning goals
  • Serve as doorways or lenses through which learners can better see and explore the key concepts, themes, theories, issues, and problems that reside within the content
  • Point toward important transferable ideas that are worth understanding, even as they provide a means for exploring those ideas
  • Can be topical or overarching