How to be essential about Mysteries?

It is that time of year again. We have begun creating our new collaborative unit. Last year we developed our K-4 integrated unit on Rivers.  After a hot debate, we have chosen Mysteries Around the World. We are collecting our enduring knowledge and moving on to essential questions. And this is where I get nervous. I can guide the teachers in many things- but I never seem to succeed with essential questions that can be used across disciplines. So we end up with only a few using them.. and they end up dull (for rivers: Why are rivers important? How have we affected rivers….)

So this year, I’m trying something new. I want one big essential question and several sub-questions. The sub-questions can be straightforward and tailored to disciplines but the big one has to be a good essential question. By this I mean:

  • reflects a problem that is interesting and relevant
  • can have multiple solutions and a variety of answers
  • could be controversial and challenges students to solve real world problems
  • requires collaboaration and thinking beyond recall
  • crosses disciplines

So if you had to develop one great essential question for children in k-4 school for Mysteries Around the World, what would it be?

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1 Response to How to be essential about Mysteries?

  1. Margie Tyner says:

    We recently delved into writing our units as “concept based”. One of our units we would like to use is Mysteries.
    We thought of several essential questions:
    1. What makes a great mystery
    2. What literary elements are unique about the mystery genre?
    3. What makes a great mystery?
    4. How do great mystery writers hook and hold their readers?
    I think the first one would be the one central or “great” question.

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