The average teacher asks 350 questions per day.
Some questions have easy answers or answers that anyone could find by looking in a book. While other questions are open-ended, and invite class discussion. Both types of questions are needed in a classroom, but a well-written question can spark the interest of any student. Questions are the first step to learning.
So, I have a question for you: How do we use our senses to discover the world?
Did I spark your interest? Are you already trying to think up answer on how you would prove it? If I did, fantastic! That is the purpose of the Driving Question in Project Based Learning.
With Project Based Learning (PBL)a student will start every project with a driving question. What’s a driving question, you ask? Well, it’s the question posed to students at the beginning of all projects that gets students excited about the lesson. According to Andrew Miller, an instructional coach, “Ultimately, the driving question is for the students. It creates interest and a feeling of challenge so that even the most reluctant student thinks, “Hmmm, I guess that sounds kinda cool.”
The question should inspire the students to want to figure it out, research it, and get involved.
What else can a well formed question do? It gives the students a goal. Without a goal, students can get lost in the “forest of research” not knowing where to turn or when to stop.
In my class of 4th and 5th graders, I posed the question, “How can we teach preschoolers about being courageous without just telling them?” Immediately, the students’ hands shot up. “We could write a play, make a comic book, do an art project, use playdough!” My question sparked interest, and that made all the difference.