What are Essential Questions

Source: This page is an excerpt from Jamie McKenzie's, "The Question Mark." Essential Questions, Chapter 10.



"They are central to our lives. They help to define what it means to be human"

"Essential questions usually probe the deep and often confounding issues confronting us - complex and baffling matters that elude simple answers: Life - Death - Marriage - Identity - Purpose - Betrayal - Honor Integrity - Courage - Temptation - Faith - Leadership - Addiction Invention - Inspiration."

"If properly stated, the essential question has a dramatic impact, evoking a passionate level of interest as well as a firm commitment to persevere until a satisfying level of understanding is reached"

Sample Essential Questions

Source: This page is an excerpt from Jamie McKenzie's, "The Question Mark." Essential Questions, Chapter 10.

Understanding Why Life Turns Out the Way It Does.
  • Why do you suppose some people can handle being a celebrity without losing their sense of self while others slip into oblivion, drug use and other forms of self destruction?
  • Why do some cities and states seem capable of overcoming terrible troubles and misfortune, rising to challenges with grace and courage while others surrender, collapse and give up the fight with a whimper?
  • Why do some friends stick by you even during the worst of times while others are quick to flee at the first sign of trouble?

Science, Technology & Society.
  • What is the price of progress?
  • How can we enjoy the fruits of chemistry without spoiling our world?
  • What are the best examples of responsible disposal practices?
  • What should the government be doing to regulate the impact of chemicals on the farms, rivers and forests of our nation?
  • What changes need to be made to the Super Fund clean-up program?
  • What are the most dramatic contributions made to the quality of life by chemical products?
  • What are the products with the most damaging impact?

The Question Mark has full copyright of this work. Excerpts posted for presentation purposes only.