Nov 28, 2006

Demanding Questions vs. Essential Questions

This week we're continuing our work on asking essential quesitons to guide your work in Boston.

I wanted to draw a distinction between demanding questions and essential quesitons.

A demanding question is a big tough question that is going to take you a while to answer. "What happened in World War II," is such a question. Big but not that interesting.

An essential question is not only big and tough to answer but when you ask it, you are so curious about it that you are really motivated to discover the answer. "America became involved in World War II after a surprise attack. On 9/11 another surprise attack was made against us. What lessons can we learn from our response in WWII that will help us this time around?" Now that's one that seems more relevant right now.

Here's a graphic organizer from Jamie McKenzie's September issue of The Quesiton Mark that outlines more of the differences. You can click on the image to see a larger version of it.

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