Essential Questions, Part 1

“What is Love?” – questions from the not so questioning…

So I’ve been thinking about questions lately, and love, since Valentine’s day is coming up and, well here’s an activity where two great tastes that taste great together, love and inquiry.


  • Tell students that you are going to have an activity to generate questions, to stimulate inquiry.
  • Have students generate any questions they have with Love.  What do they really want to know about it?  What do the know that they would want to learn more about?  Encourage them to think from the learning goals and think expansively. You may want them to each write at least one on a post-it (one per post-it) and bring it to the front of the room to share.
  • Categorize these for them -(group them).  You can use any framework about questioning that you are comfortable with: open ended vs. closed ended questions, five basic types (factual, convergent, divergent, evaluative, combination), lower order and higher order, and Bloom’s Taxonomy. All of these show different levels of questioning and can help in a conversation with students to ask questions from different levels and develop their skills at more critical thinking.
  • Have students review  the Blooms Taxonomy Sentence starters (or any other inquiry framework) or this Blooms Question Sampler.  You may choose to have the group focus on one level of or questioning or divide into small groups.
  • Once they have looked this over, have students generate 3-5 more questions each with various levels.  (You may want to put the levels on the board and have them write or post their new questions in the correct category).
  • You might ask them to choose the one question that interests them the most – journal on this and why it is intriguing to them.  Have students keep the list of types of questions so you can begin reinforcing that with other activities.


  1. Bloom’s Taxonomy; Blooms Question Sampler
  2. Five Basic Types of Questions
  3. Lower order vs. Higher order
  4. Blooms Sentence Starters (PDF)
  5. What is Love – Haddaway Video; SNL Spoof Compilation


  • So what IS love?  Write a journal entry, poem, paint a picture, write a song, choreograph a dance, make a photo essay, etc that presents your definition.



Sink Your Teeth In

So I blew it, officially missed they International Talk like a Pirate Day (thanks for the reminder and idea Jen) – (you can still get on board with this if you are interested).  there are some wonderful things here and Some great kid songs (Blackbeard and Bluebeard).  Any of your students interning in Elementary schools – here is a great activity and fun video.

One of the cool things about this is that it was a couple of people who took an interest to the extreme – they made a fun small group activity in the Northwest, a full day event that people around the world celebrate.

One of the reasons I missed this special day was our family was busy at the emergency room with our three year old who fell and smashed his front teeth so badly they had to get pulled.  (I’ll skip the trauma of the moment thought it does lead me to ask why teeth produce so much blood. It felt like an episode of Dexter in our house on Saturday).  But there is learning in every experience, right? Make your life, your learning. So, let’s sink our teeth into teeth…

Journals or Advisory Share: Stories of Teeth
Use the topic of teeth to start conversation and help students share about their personal experience:

  1. Did your family do the tooth fairy bit?  What was that ritual like? What did they bring?
  2. Have you ever had teeth problems? What were they? What was that like?
  3. Do you floss? How often?
  4. Do you mind going to the dentist?

Brainstorm Questions
Spend some time as an advisory whetting your inquiry skills by brainstorming any questions you can about teeth, dentistry, etc.  You may put up question works for students and/ or provide them with a examples of the Blooms types of questions.

Done as a whole group, you could put this up on the board as a mind map (and cluster/or organize later with types).

You might have each pair of students pick a question to research during the day and bring the answer back to advisory at the end of the day.

  • How many teeth do you have?
  • What is the history of dentistry?
  • Why do you loose a set of teeth?
  • How long does it take a tooth to grow?
  • What is a cavity?
  • Why is loosing teeth so bloody?
  • What is a “dead tooth”?
  • What does flossing have to do with heart health?
  • What qualities and skills makes for a good dentist?
  • Etc., Etc.  The more questions, the better. (Maybe skip questions about the Marathon Man…)

Anatomy of Teeth
Blooms Questions
Mind Mapping

Fun Facts about teeth

Not well known facts about teeth

Let curiosity be the guide …