Purpose

To deepen thinking

Process

  1. Print the following questions on small cards (could be
    laminated).

    Essential Questions
    WHAT’S HAPPENING? Asks for a
    description of an event, incident, experiment, etc. Students state what they noticed
    WHO
    SAYS? Asks for evidence and sources of the information
    HOW COME? Asks for
    causation-what made this happen
    SO WHAT? Asks for significance-what
    importance this has
    NOW WHAT? Asks for application-what we can do with this
    information, what might happen

  2. Give each student a copy of the card.
  3. At various times, everyone gets out the Essential Questions Card and
    responds to one or more questions in writing. Times for use during a topic
    discussion:
  • At end of class-whole class responds
  • After reading something
  • After a video

Examples

  • After reading Chapter 3 in our novel, answer: What’s happening
    (retelling)? Now what (prediction)?
  • At the end of a unit on weather ask, So what? (What is the significance
    of understanding weather
    patterns?)

Variations
Use Essential
Questions for:
Journaling
Student writing and research
Homework
processing
Partner discussions
Small-group discussions

Resources
Printed cardstock, laminated or
non-laminated

Time
A few minutes or more

X