Lesson Plan Asset Components
When managing lesson plan assets, there are required fields in order to submit your lesson plan. This section takes a dive into Essential Questions with a goal of helping you to create an effective lesson plan in the NPS Educators Portal.
What is an Essential Question?
Essential Questions (or big picture questions) help focus content on the crucial and important parts of a lesson. Good questions provoke thought and encourage students to think critically about the subject. For example, use the topic of desegregation at Little Rock Central High School in 1957, which was a historical event that involved many people and perspectives.
Using Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and the following ideas:
- The selection of African Americans students to the all-white high school
- The African American student experience attending the all-white high school
- The lesson title “Taking a Stand in History”
Here are a few possible essential questions:
- How does who we are shape our family and community?
- How did the nine African American students take a stand during desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957?
- How has desegregation of public schools shaped our communities?
Some Examples from the NPS Educators Portal:
How did Washington’s experience in the French and Indian War prepare him for his role as a military leader?
How do archeologists use the study of space to understand life in the past?
From Badlands National Park’s Bison Banquet lesson:
What is a prairie food web? How does it provide energy for plants and animals to live and thrive?
Resources for Crafting Essential Questions:
- What Makes a Question Essential by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
- What are Essential Questions by Leslie Owen Wilson, Ed.
- Essential Questions by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm
- All About Writing Essential Questions
Brainstorm some essential questions related to your site that could be explored in classrooms. Share the questions in the Common Learning Portal, and help others craft essential questions.
Learn more about the other components of the NPS Educators Portal.