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?