Driving Question to Facilitate Student Inquiry and Common Core… My Post From PBL World In Napa, CA


Greeting from Napa, California and PBL World which is hosted by BIE (BUCK institute for Education). BIE is the leader in facilitating Project Based learning Professional Development throughout the world. Since I am a member of the BIE National Faculty  I am enjoying facilitating and networking with educators from across the world at this premier conference.  In this post I address the concept of “Driving Questions”  I know it is a read you will enjoy and share. I have evn included some amazing links including some to the BUCK Institute (BIE). To ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always  I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Quick Note – I have been getting a lot of request asking if I will make a visit to your school, organization, or conference. Please be aware that I am available to assist you in providing professional development and presentations. I have had the opportunity to network in person across the country and invite your inquiry at mjgormans@gmail.com. You can also visit by Booking Site for even more info.

Driving Questions: Uncovering Amazing Content Under Through Inquiry

I really like Diving Questions. In fact, I like them so much more then Essential Questions. You might ask why? I think it just might be my affection for the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. You may remember that in the revision the different levels were changed into action. In fact, I strongly believe that learning is a verb and is based on action. Take away the word “Question” and Driving is a verb loaded with action. The word “Essential” standing alone is only a word devoted to describing… a colorful but inactive adjective.

Another reason I am fond of “Driving Questions” is that they allow students to work together in the amazing process of divergent thinking. As students bring this process around to identify answers and ideas that finally converge, they are suddenly back on the path to even higher order divergent thinking. It is amazing to watch students become aware that answers can bring on even more questions. Seems to me that it is a lot like moving up Bloom’s Taxonomy. In fact I like to go beyound the inquiry cylce and think of it as the inquiry spiral. What a match for Common Core Learning!

Last,  I like “Driving Questions because there are  so simple, that they can be difficult to construct. Let me explain. The Driving Question in Project Based learning is often the hardest concept to get across to teachers. Even after a workshop devoted to PBL… questions will come across my email asking for help in constructing and refining the Driving Question.

Why are driving questions so difficult? Perhaps it is the powerful and simple concept they ride upon in a world where teachers have been taught to use so much of their “educationese language” Educators must work at being aware of the important standards in their content area without blurting them out. It is at this point that educators come across that often talked about idea of of uncovering, not covering, the standards.  Educators are so often told to practice this methodology, but are seldom told how to do it.

This is the power of the Driving Question and its importance in PBL. The Driving Question must be simply stated so that students can uncover the content standards themselves. The Driving Question should not give away the contents standards which students may not really care about. It should engage the students and create wonderment through relevancy to their world. It should drive them to “uncover the standards” Through carefully planned PBL the teacher then facilitates this learning experience. The added bonus of building important 21st century skills is a natural outcome. In order for students to “uncover the standards” they will need to communicate, collaborate, think critically, and provide creative thought.

Please feel free to explore the links below to even better understand the Driving Question. Also on the pages that follow you download the beginnings of my rubric for assessing your DQ. Any feedback you have would be appreciated. Enjoy the Tubric that was created from the awesome people at BIE. That’s right… it is a tube and a rubric designed to create Driving Question. You may even wish to look at the video.

Edutopia Links For DQ

Thank you for joining me in this PBL series on “Driving Questions”. I hope you found this formation something you can use in your school and to share with other educators.  As always , I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit.   Watch for other posts in this series!  To ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering PBL, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Drive To Inquiry! – Mike (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

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2 responses to “Driving Question to Facilitate Student Inquiry and Common Core… My Post From PBL World In Napa, CA

  1. Great post. I agree that I like the visual I get with the term Driving Question versus Essential Question. An idea I am pushing with teachers is the art of student questioning (which goes along with the DQ). So often we push the idea of creating Knows and Need to Knows that relate directly back to the DQ. But what if we taught our students to just focus on the questions they have (in many ways Need to Knows) and then separate them into Open Ended and Closed questions or Non-Googleable and Googleable. Now we have a driving question and questions created by the students that all need to be adressed along the path taken towards project completion. I see this as a way to encourage student ownership of the learning. Just my thoughts and I’m still working on this idea. I got the idea, by the way, from the Right Question Institute and their book Make Just One Change. Thanks for the great post. It made me think.

    • Thank you for the very kind words. teaching students the art of inquiry is not easy and having their questions converge and then diverge to a higher level really is an art. Keep up the wonderful effort and thanks for the very kind words. Please continue to return! – Mike

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