The Driving Question

QUESTIONThe Driving Question is our theme for January.  What is the Driving Question and how is the Driving Question similar to the Essential Question and the Guiding Question?

The Driving Question does just that…it drives the project, moves it forward when one is wondering, why am I doing this project?  Developing the Driving Question can be the most difficult part of preparing your project.  You want the Driving Question to be broad enough to encompass the entire project and a question that stimulates deep thinking, creativity and problem solving.  So it is very similar to the Essential Question.  The question is open-ended, promotes discovery and many times is connected to a real world issue.  Here are some examples of Driving Questions from the Buck Institute:  Kindergarten:  How can we create a picture book about the life cycles of creatures in Oldham County?  Elementary/Middle:  What rules and consequences should we have at our school?  Elementary:  How can we preserve and share the historical and cultural wealth of the Parkland Community?  Why are there so many hills and valleys around here?   How can we create animated videos that show how the land in our region was formed?  Can we predict which team should win the college basketball championship?  How can we create a lighting plan for a city block with mixed uses?  Could England have avoided the revolt of the American colonies?  How can we create a campaign to convince kids to eat healthier foods?  These examples are overarching enough to move the project forward.

What about Guiding Questions?  These questions are part of the learning that takes place each day.  They may have a “yes or no” answer; however, many times we encourage questions that cause students to THINK!  Questions like:  How do you know?  What did you notice?  Tell me more…What do you mean by that? Why do you think that happened?  What mathematical concept would you apply to this?  (“Reinventing Project-Based Learning,” Boss and Krauss, ISTE, 2007.)

So, take the plunge.  Ask your students what “drives” them.  I know you’ll have to go through a lot of interesting answers, but, you will discover the key to creating a buzz about Project Based Learning.

Next PBL class:  January 24th and 25th (all levels).  Patrick Shaw and Penny Williams Trainers.


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