Essential Questions


The Essential Questions section of the instructional guide represents the reason for the learning.  Essential questions are open-ended; they have no single correct answer.  These questions are written to stimulate inquiry, debate and further questions and can be re-examined over time.  Good essential questions are thought provoking to students; they “hook” the students into wanting to learn more about the topic.  Every lesson within a standards-focused unit of study should be exploring one of the essential questions cited for the unit.  When writing essential questions, teachers should ask themselves, “What should my students remember and be able to do, or reflect on, a year from now?”


The following examples of Essential Questions are taken from Instructional Guides on the Teach 21 site:

Essential Questions

1.      Why is it important to be tolerant of others?

2.      What roles do encouragement and determination play in overcoming limitations?

3.      How do labels and stereotypes affect our relationships with people?

4.      What are the affects of labeling and stereotyping others?

The Acorn People by Ron Jones, English 8.



Essential Questions

How can the definition be used to verify the reflective properties of each conic?

How can each of the types of conics by constructed?

How does factoring help me graph conic sections?

How do comic sections occur naturally in your life?

How are man-made conics used to improve life?

Conic Sections, Algebra II