Essential Question Library

Essential Questions launch students on an exploration of social studies content, framing their investigation throughout a series of inquiry lessons.

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What does it mean to navigate school?

K-1

Grades

What does it mean to navigate school?

Students unpack what it means to navigate school physically and socially by exploring their school's locations, activities, and behavioral norms. They explore basic mapping skills and work with peers to begin a concept map of their school.

How are families similar and different?

1-2

Grades

How are families similar and different?

Students explore the different ways there are to be a family. They compare and contrast to find common ground and identify what makes their families unique, then create artifacts that celebrate how their families are special.

Why can’t I have everything I want?

1-2

Grades

Why can’t I have everything I want?

Students explore economic concepts: wants and needs, saving and spending, earning and giving. They practice working within a budget and consider how scarcity influences people's decision-making about how to spend, save, and give money.

Who is here to help me?

K-1

Grades

Who is here to help me?

Students investigate and show appreciation for school helpers. After drafting and critiquing interview questions, students interview with school helper, then create a claim about the importance of the job the helper performs.

Why are traditions important?

1-2

Grades

Why are traditions important?

Students explore a variety of family traditions, and then develop an inclusive definition of “tradition." They reflect upon and appreciate their own unique family traditions and explore how traditions connect us to family, both past and present.

How do community producers meet our needs and wants?

1-2

Grades

How do community producers meet our needs and wants?

Students explore how different producers meet community needs and wants. They act as community producers, imagining the good or service they'll provide, what they'll need to provide it, and how supply and demand will affect their choices.

How can I help others?

K-1

Grades

How can I help others?

Students learn the importance of rules and norms in a community, and the role that kindness plays in making school a happy and productive place. They use their learning to make a claim about how they can help make school a great place.

How can family members care for one another?

1-2

Grades

How can family members care for one another?

Students explore the different responsibilities and roles family members can have, reflecting upon their own unique family roles and responsibilities. They examine how family members can work together to meet each other's needs and wants.

How do we make tough choices when spending money?

1-2

Grades

How do we make tough choices when spending money?

Students act as consumers, evaluating goods and services in their community model and playing a game that illustrates how to spend money and respond to unexpected events. Using what they've learned, students create spending advice to share with others.

How can I be a problem solver?

K-1

Grades

How can I be a problem solver?

Students investigate common problems that arise at school, analyzing the possible causes, and brainstorming ways to solve them. They begin to strategize about how they can become upstanders and problem solvers within their school community.

How does our diversity strengthen our community?

1-2

Grades

How does our diversity strengthen our community?

Students explore the concept of diversity and the value of living in diverse communities. They investigate how families with different structures, traditions, cultures, and backgrounds can work together to make their communities stronger.

How does a community meet our collective needs?

1-2

Grades

How does a community meet our collective needs?

Students investigate the ways communities work together to meet shared needs. They explore services the government provides, as well as ways individuals can help improve the community. They brainstorm local needs they would like to address.