How to Write Effective Driving Questions for Project-Based Learning
The driving questions (DQ) exam can be quite challenging. When I do training for educators, a common theme emerges: “Writing the driving question is one of the most difficult components of an effective PBL.” Absolutely. I usually end up going through several iterations of a DQ when I’m working on one for a PBL project. Not until I’ve worked on a large number of different projects and trained a large number of different instructors do I consider myself to be an expert.
Before we get into the specifics of this topic, I strongly suggest that you take some time to familiarise yourself with the “How To Do PBL” playlist that is hosted on the Buck Institute for Education’s YouTube channel.
Now, the Driving Question That We Have to Ask Is: How to Effectively Write a Driving Question?
To begin, it is imperative that we comprehend the purpose of having them. The learner and the instructor are both intended to gain something from the driving questions.
Our Driving Question Now Is: How to Write an Effective Driving Question?
Addressed to the instructor: A DQ is useful for getting the inquiry started and narrowing its scope. Keep in mind that the project shouldn’t be attempting to address all of the problems in the world. Instead, there should be concentrated action and focused inquiry; the objective is to make sure the kids are engaged on what they are doing. The instructor is responsible for helping to focus the teaching and learning, and driving questions are helpful in accomplishing this goal.
It does this by encapsulating and conveying the objective of the project in the form of a condensed inquiry. When reading the driving question, both the student and the instructor should have a firm grasp on the nature of the entire project as well as the reason for doing it. It is also helpful for the instructor to guide planning and reinterpret standards as well as large amounts of knowledge and abilities. The driving query should not sound like a norm that has been reinterpreted in the form of a question. I will elaborate on this topic in the following paragraphs. Use the driving question as a tool to reframe the criteria in ways that are understandable not only to you as the teacher but also to the student.
Regarding the learner In the end, the question that matters the most is for the pupils. Even the most resistant student will eventually think, “Hmmm, I guess that sounds kind of great,” since it generates curiosity and a sense of difficulty in the subject matter.
The work on the project is directed by it. Every piece of work that students complete for this project, from the culminating project to the daily lessons and activities, should be geared toward assisting them in answering the driving issue. The work that is being done must correspond to the main topic being asked, regardless of whether it is a lecture on commas, implementation time, or drill-and-skill with mathematical problems. Why? The operations of the day-to-day that may appear to be “boring” actually have meaning, relevance, and purpose, and then guess what? They are no longer dull to look at.
The Tale of the “Snarky Kid”
This is relevant to the following point I’ll make. Students are able to provide a response to the question, “Why are we doing this?” This is the “Golden Question” that a lot of administrators like to ask the students they meet when they come to visit. If you have a good driving question, it can assist connect the work so that students are able to articulate the reason for the daily activities and classes they are participating in.
My inquiry about driving is written on the board in my classroom. Worksheets, the project wall, and the online blog all contain the information. Students are constantly reminded of the project’s overarching goal as well as the significance of their individual tasks by referring back to this document as we work on it.
The Story of the “Snarky Kid” “Snarky Kid”
It is imperative that I relate the tale of the “Snarky Kid.” The Snarky Kid is the student who acts as though they despise everything about school or your class, but they still show up and complete their assignments. Immediately following a lesson on direct instruction, my students and I worked together in class on some comma practise worksheets. Our primary concern was how to go about persuading a member of the government to protect both the casino industry and the traditions of the indigenous peoples in the area.
Naturally, my administrator approached Snarky Kid and inquired, “What are you working on, and why is it important to you?”
The snarky kid gave the following response: “We are working on dumb commas.”
My administrator responded with “Oh, I see.” “What is the purpose of your work on commas?”
Practice Refining Driving Questions
“Because we are trying to persuade the senator to change her viewpoint, and we don’t want our letters to be ineffective in doing so, we need your help. We need her to read them so that she doesn’t look foolish.”
Isn’t that incredible!?! In spite of his crude response, Snarky Kid was able to describe the task’s direct bearing on the present situation. I’d like to think that perhaps the question about driving gave that student some insight into how to respond to the question posed by the administrator.
In my upcoming blog post, we will investigate the many categories of driving questions, look at some examples of how poor driving questions can be transformed into good ones, and examine some additional criteria. For the time being, I’m going to give you a task that requires you to practise improving driving questions.
The Refinement of Driving Practice Questions
After you’ve finished watching the video on the Tubric, which is a helpful tool that helps generate effective driving questions, click this link to make one of your own. (provided with the assistance of my coworkers at the Buck Institute for Education)
Even activities that are considered to be more “nerdy” can have a place in the classroom. (Can I have an amen?)
The next step is to utilise the Tubric to improve the poorly written questions on driving that are below. It is true that you have not yet heard all of the hints and tips that I have to provide, and you also do not know precisely what the PBL projects are that connect to the driving issues that have been presented. Nevertheless, you still have the opportunity to practise, and you might even devise some questions of your own regarding the formulation of efficient driving questions. (Here’s a hint: I’m modelling a portion of the PBL process while we work through this activity.)
Here are some driving questions for you to refine. You are welcome to choose one and concentrate on that. In the following piece, I will discuss some of the hints and strategies that can be used to improve driving questions.