Learning Adventures – Essential Questions

April 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Intro: Watch this video on project-based learning.

PART ONE: Adventure Project Requirements

Today in class I will distribute the rubric for this project. You can also view it here. This form will also serve as a guide to how you might pace your work so that it can be completed by the due date: Thursday, April 26 at the beginning of class. Here’s a brief overview of the topics I’ll be covering during the remainder of our classes:

Thursday, 4/12: Process vs. Product – what should students create?

Tuesday, 4/17: Finding fantastic web resources for your Learning Adventure with Thinkfinity
Thursday, 4/19: Learning Adventure workday – class will not meet

Tuesday, 4/24: Notes and info for remaining Learning Adventure sections
Thursday, 4/26: Last day of class, Learning Adventure due, end-of-semester showcase

PART TWO: What is an essential question?

You’ll want to get students interested in your topic by starting with an essential question. We’re going to try and write a few ourselves today.

  1. On an index card, write a question related to a topic about which you enjoy learning. For example, “what happened to the dinosaurs?”, “why did the Titanic sink”, etc.
  2. Get in a group with 3 other classmates, and use a tubric to turn your question into an essential question.
  3. How good is your question? Use the essential question development checklist on the last page of this handout to see how well you did.

Share at least one good question with the class. Then, as a class, we’ll form a definition of essential questions and talk about how you can use these in your Learning Adventures.

PART THREE: Getting Started

For the remainder of today’s class, you’ll want to work with your partner to come up with ideas for your essential question.

You’ll also want to create a new Google site (not a new page in your current site) and do the following:

o   Make sure the title of your site reflects the nature of your adventure.

o   Share permissions within your site with your partner (if you have one). You will want to make sure both of you can make edits. Here’s a video to help you choose the correct settings.

o   Make sure your navigation bar reflects the sections in the rubric distributed in class today.


1. Decide on a title for your adventure and write the INQUIRE section of your adventure. Refer to the rubric for specific instructions. Double-check the Essential Question Development Checkpoint list to make sure you’ve written a high quality essential question.

2. Choose an article to read in preparation for Thursday’s class:

  • This Scholastic article  is about project-based learning for Thursday’s class.
  • Here’s one about writing effective driving questions.
  • Read about a real-world example of project-based learning. Be prepared to share about it in class.
  • Listen to John Hunter talk about his World Peace game. Stick with it – it gets really interesting about 10 minutes in.

3. This has nothing to do with today’s topic – but it’s a neat site that I thought some of you might enjoy: Photoboother. Oh, and if you want to make animated gifs with still images (you see these online more and more) – you can build one here.


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