Saturday, January 30, 2010

More essential questions

Here are some more essential questions, perhaps more practical than my first list, though not as engaging I think. By themselves they probably aren't useful for the student as the start of an inquiry-based unit, but they can be made concrete for a particular unit. For example, question #2 could be expanded and concretized into "What are different ways to represent North Lawndale? Create three different portraits of your neighborhood -- one that would appeal to a poet, one to a statistician, and one to an ecologist." (Or something like that.)

The letters and numbers in parentheses refer to different learning or teaching standards. If no other abbreviation is shown, they refer to the Illinois Learning Standards. NETS-T refers to the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers. IPST refers to the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards.



1. How can algebra be used to solve real world problems (including rates and proportions, percent of change, formulas and weighted averages)? (6D, 8D)

2. What are different ways of representing the world? (5C, 8B, 10A, 25A, 27B)

3. What are different ways of representing the world mathematically? (8B, 10A)

4. How can math representations help us in understanding the world? (8B, 10A)

5. How can graphs represent linear / direct relationships? (8B)

6. What does this mean? "The map is not the territory." (5C, 7C, 8B, 10A, 25A, 27B)

7. Is an algebraic problem-solving strategy better than, say, "guess or check" or "draw a diagram"? (6D, 8D, 11A)

8. Should students be allowed to use calculators in class? (6C, 7C)

9. In plane geometry, why do the angles of a triangle add up to 180º? (9A, 9B, 9C)

10. What would geometry look like if the angles of a triangle added up to more than 180º? (9A, 9B, 9C)

11. What would geometry look like if the angles of a triangle added up to less than 180º? (9A, 9B, 9C)

12. Why are vertical angles congruent? (6B, 8D, 9C)

13. How is algebra different from the arithmetic you have learned up to now? (6A, 6B, 8A, 8C)

14. How can you find the value of pi (without looking it up)? (7B, 7C,8D, 9A)


15. What does an ecosystem need to be self-regulating? (12B)

16. What happens to an ecosystem when a new species is introduced? (12B)

Social Science / Technology

17. How do new tools affect society? (11A, 13B, 16C, 18C, 27B)

18. Why do new tools affect society? (11A, 13B, 16C, 18C, 27B)

19. How do new tools affect the way we see things? (11A, 13B, 16C, 18C, 27B)

20. Do new tools change the way people think, or are new tools the result of a change in people's thinking? (11A, 13B, 16C, 18C, 27B)


21. Does your ISAT score show how smart you are? (10A, 10B, 11A, 26B)

For teacher education:

22. How do people learn? (IPTS 1A, 1C, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D)

23. Do children learn differently at different ages, and if so, how? (2B, 2C)

24. What is an essential question? (1H)

For technology teachers:

25. What is literacy? (IPTS 1A, 1B)

26. What is technology literacy? (NETS-T 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

27. Should technical skills be taught separately or as part of a regular lesson? (NETS-T 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

28. How should schools deal with the increased media use / exposure of today's students? (NETS-T 4, 5)

29. At what age should children start using computers? (IPTS 2B; NETS-T 4, 5)

30. Do computers help students learn? (IPTS 1F, 6C)

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