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Such questions are broad in scope and universal by nature. Essential questions of this type are common and perpetually arguable.We may arrive at or be helped to grasp understandings for these questions, but we soon learn that answers to them are provisional or more varied than we might have imagined.
" can lead students to the big ideas that great literature explores—the universal themes of the human condition underneath the more obvious peculiarities of personality or culture—and thus can help us gain insight into our own experiences.
Similarly, the question "To what extent can people accurately predict the future?
For example, if a content standard calls for students to learn about the three branches of government, then questions such as "When does a government overstep its authority?
" or "How might we guard against governmental abuses of power?
In other words, we are liable to change our minds in response to reflection, different views, and rich experience concerning such questions as we go through life—and such changes of mind are not only expected but beneficial.
A good education is grounded in such lifelong questions, even if we sometimes lose sight of them while focusing on content mastery.
Questions that meet all or most of these criteria qualify as essential.
These are questions that are not answerable with finality in a single lesson or a brief sentence—and that's the point.
" serves as a launch pad for examining big ideas in statistics and science, such as sampling variables, predictive validity, degrees of confidence, and correlation versus causality.
At a practical level, think of targeted understandings and essential questions as the flip sides of the same coin.