STEP 2: Writing Foundation Questions

KEY: Preparing a list of questions that target the types of information required to answer the essential question is absolutely critical. Developing the list structures research, streamlines online time, and provides teachers with an assessment FOR learning opportunity.


Foundation questions are "What is" questions. After the essential question has been framed, students then write foundation questions. As the name suggests, these questions, and their answers, provide a factual "foundation" from which the answer to the essential question can be developed. Generally, a carefully developed list of foundation questions may number between 6 to 10 questions, although the number is directly dependent on the age and skill level of the student, as well as the complexity of the question. In the cancer question above, the first foundation question is "What is cancer?" Another foundation question may be "What are the strategies that can be used to prevent cancer?" Foundation questions are extremely important; they provide structure to the inquiry investigation so that students know what they need to research.


Additionally, their answers will be integrated into an answer to the essential question. At this point it is important to emphasize that students should write foundation questions as a guide to their inquiry. Additionally, it is appropriate for teachers to assess these questions and to provide timely feedback to students relative to the quality of these questions.

Inspiration software can be used to help students generate foundation questions. Inspiration is mind-mapping software that helps students create visual representations of information and knowledge. Because of the flexibility of the Inspiration software, foundation questions can be developed individually, cooperatively in small learning groups, and by the entire class when used with a single computer and some form of projection device.



STEP 1: Writing the Essential Question

STEP 2: Writing Foundation Questions

STEP 3: Developing a Search Strategy

STEP 4: Locating Information

STEP 5: Filter, Distill and Cross-Referencing

STEP 6: Evaluate the amount of information

STEP 7: Develop the answer to the Essential Question

STEP 8: Develop a product to represent the answer


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