Central Ideas should be questions

I have long asked for this. There is something more open and thought provoking about a well worded and well intentioned question at cannot be replicated with a statement. How do we know what the central idea of a unit is going to be even before we start investigating?

A moment today, as we were fine tuning Central Idea's for the upcoming exhibition, brought me back to this point:

Me: There is a great idea in here, but the wording is missing something.
S: Yeah, it is missing a focus, but how am I supposed to include anything before I have even started researching?

Now, I have thoroughly enjoyed the one on one process of sitting down with students and working on these statements. It has involved some fantastic thinking and the kids have shown incredible open mindedness in changing their ideas. They are letting the ideas flow, and going with the changes. I am very proud of them.

However, I think that we would feel the same way even if we were using this time to craft a question, rather than a statement. I also think that learning to craft and ask highly engaging and deeply interesting questions is a far important skill to practice.

Just my thoughts.

Any thoughts?


  1. Anonymous14.3.14

    It would have been fine to craft questions...
    Our experience is that it's best to have a (very broad!) central idea created by the teachers for the exhibition and have students develop their own lines of inquiry.

  2. If it is 'very broad', it that not setting up a space that is too big? I think Inquiry needs a space, a clearly marked boundary, and if it is too broad, it shuts us down.

    I think they are more than capable of forming their own CI and LOI. I would like it to be as personal as it can be. They need total control over the entire process. The only think I set was the TD theme. But I can see the benefits of having a joint Central Idea.

    Just my thoughts! We'll see if I feel the same after next week when we try and get all this done!

  3. I agree Craig. It is ironical that an inquiry cycle should generate from a statement rather thank a really amazing thought- provoking question. Maybe should be able to come up with the central idea after exploring the burning big question and lines of inquiry.

  4. Anonymous16.3.14

    Sorry about the typo!



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