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Understanding by Design #2: Essential Questions & Enduring Understanding
Transcript of Understanding by Design #2: Essential Questions & Enduring Understanding
Recognize what an understanding is.
How to express an understanding.
Come up with essential questions based on learning units.
Make generalized statements stating the desired understanding.
Goals for this module:
Causes genuine and relevant inquiry into the big ideas of the core content/
Provoke deep thought, lively discussion, sustained inquiry, and new understanding as well as more questions.
Require students to consider alternatives, weigh evidence, support their ideas, and justify their answers.
Stimulate vital ongoing rethinking of big ideas, assumptions, and prior lessons.
Spark meaningful connections with prior learning and personal experiences.
Naturally recur, creating opportunities for transfer to other situations.
What makes a question essential?
Big Ideas are at the heart of understanding
Big Ideas come in many forms:
Unifying concepts (the modern “flat” world of interdependence)
Organizing themes (love conquers all)
Key strategies and rules of thumb (turn complex quantities into the more familiar and simple to work with via mathematical equivalences)
Endless debates or issues (nature versus nurture)
Striking paradox (poverty amid plenty)
Dilemmas (we simplify reality in math and science models – with some loss and possible oversight of important detail)
Persistent problems or challenges (global warming)
Major theories (Manifest destiny)
Key assumptions (Markets are rational)
Key differing perspectives (“Terrorist” vs. “Freedom fighter”)
(Wiggins and McTighe 71)
Are the foundation for effective understanding.
Provide a method for setting curricular and instructional priorities.
Help learns make sense of great quantities of information and skills.
“They illuminate experiences; they are the linchpin of transfer.” (Wiggins and McTighe 71)
A “lens” for getting students to organize and make sense of their learning and experience.