Essential Questions

What are the most important concepts my students should learn from this lesson/chapter/unit?

1. Essential questions are concept in the form of questions.  Questions suggest inquiry.

2. Essential questions are organizers and set the focus for the lesson or unit.

3. Essential questions are initiators of creative and critical thinking.

4. Essential questions are conceptual commitments focusing on key concepts implicit in the curriculum.

Criteria for Essential Questions 

1. Each student should be able to understand the essential question(s).

2. The language of the questions should be in broad terms.

3. There should be a logical sequence to a set of essential questions.

4. Essential questions should be posted in the classroom.

Writing Essential Questions

· What is your teaching objetive?

· Write the objective as a question.

· Do you need smaller key questions?

· Rewrite if necessary to make sure learners understand the question(s).


What are some examples of essential questions? 


1. How do chemicals benefit society?
2. Are animals essential for man’s survival?  Explain.
3. Does South Carolina have reason to fear a natural disaster?  Which ones or Why not?
4. What must a scientist do in order to research something?


1. When should I multiply? When can’t I multiply? When is  multiplication most useful?  Can multiplication make things smaller?
2. How is geometry used in the real world?
3. What is the role of geometry in advertising, architecture, or fabric design?
4. How would you explain, demonstrate, or draw the ________ process?

Social Studies

1. How have ancient Greeks affected our society?
2. Why would the Europeans want to come to the colonies?
3. Why did your textbook include _____ in this chapter?
4. How does the economy of a society depend on the geography of the region?

Language Arts

1. Why read?
2. What is the connection between reading and writing?
3. Do stories need a beginning, middle, and end?  Why?
4. What does the “Bernstein Bears” teach us about life?


1. How can the computer be used as a tool?
2. How would our culture be different without computers?
3. What process would you use to write a letter using Microsoft Word?
4. What are your top ten priorities when producing a news video?

Physical Education

1. Why should you spend time stretching before and after an athletic event?
2. What are the top three rules in basketball?  Why?
3. How can advertising affect a teen’s choices?


1. Why is art necessary?
2. How do people express themselves through art today?
3. How has art changed through time?
4. What choices must a painter make before beginning a work?

Foreign Language

1. How is Spanish/French like and unlike English?
2. In what ways would learning a foreign language be beneficial?

I have my essential question, now what?

Now you need to ask some basic questions in order to possible revise it.  These will also assist in generating lessons to lead students toward the answer.

1. What should the student have learned prior to the lesson?
2. What will the student need to know in order to answer the question?
3. What strategies will actively engage the student as they work toward the answer?
4. How will you know that the students are learning the information?
5. How will the students demonstrate their final answer to the question?