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Driving Questions

Page history last edited by Eric Anderson 9 years, 8 months ago

Driving Questions

Good projects start with intriguing questions. Let’s collect our Driving Questions here so we can borrow and build on each other’s ideas. Please add your ideas to the list.


Whose mess is this?


How do we know what’s true?


How have man-made disasters affected our food supplies?


How do disasters shape culture?


How does the planet’s health affect our mental health?


How safe is our water?


Why do we have a love-hate relationship with oil?


Who are the unsung heroes of a crisis?


How can the Principles of Green Chemistry help prevent future disasters?


How can games help us learn about complex environmental systems?


How can we protect a special place (or species)?


Do small steps really make a difference when it comes to energy use? 


What is the impact on children's health? Nutrition, physical, mental, emotional well being?


Can broadcast journalist be objective?


How can students around the world help clean up the spill?


How can students who live far away from the direct impact of the oil spill understand that even the small steps they can make to help in some way, shape or form, matter?


How can students use what they understand in math be applied to understanding the spill?


What is the role and responsibility of human beings in the living world? 


How do changes in the environment (oil or the chemicals they use to absorb the oil) affect the survival of animals in that environment?


How do animals interact and depend on living and nonliving things in the environment?


How does this disaster in off-shore drilling affect relate to local/coastal issues with offshore drilling?


Fight for your life: water wars.  The Gulf Oil Spill is only the latest disaster to affect massive amounts of water, the source of life.  Look at droughts in our Nation and in the world, accidents like Chernobyl, and you'll see more and more that the world is in a simmering war over water.  What about where you live?  What are the challenges to your community and water, and what plans are there for it?  Will you need to fight for your "life", and how?


Can oil production and wildlife coexist?


How can migratory species be protected? (You might choose to focus on sea turtles, birds, or marine mammals.)


How do events in the Gulf of Mexico affect other places?


How do events where we live affect the Gulf of Mexico?


Are Lousiana's wetlands really "America's Wetlands"?


Who's an oil genius? 


What's so tricky about oil?


How can robots help us repair damaged ecosystems, or oil rigs, or prevent further accidents such as the BP Gulf coast oil spill of 2010?

How can we balance our need for oil and oil-based products with taking care of the environment?


How can we assess the environmental considerations associated with the extraction and use of renewable and non-renewable resources?


How will the evolution of sea life be affected by the oil spill?


How can public policy address the points in the oil production process where a mistake can lead to substantial damage to the environment and people's lives?

Comments (7)

lhoffman said

at 11:47 am on Jul 17, 2010

Can a broadcast journalist be objective?

lhoffman said

at 12:09 pm on Jul 17, 2010

oops - posted my question to the wrong section -
I like my driving questions to be answered yes/no with the reasoning to be formed or changed during the project process. Questions that start off with an assumption do not allow students to make up their own minds and discover their own reasoning.These types of questions could be unit or content questions to be answered in the activities. Can the driving question be made stronger by dropping the word "How"? Does the question ask for a list? If yes, then that could suggest the teacher already has the answer in mind. Driving questions that start with "Why" could suggest that the answer is already yes or no and the students are looking for reasoning even if they don't agree with the original answer. Just something to think about.

Karimah Grayson said

at 12:46 pm on Jul 19, 2010

Is the oil spill used as a political tool for one party against another?

ellen said

at 9:04 am on Jul 20, 2010

I am really having a tough time grappling with this issue since I teach college students in a suburban NJ environment (I teach English).

Christine Cope Pence said

at 9:28 am on Jul 20, 2010

Ellen, take a look at the slide set on my PBL camper page. For English students, you might focus on "communicating the message."

Lisa Soper said

at 9:20 pm on Jul 21, 2010

Those are some very good questions to pose to students.

Michelle Harrison said

at 9:09 pm on Jul 31, 2010

In my area we have the Ocean on one side and the Bay on the other. Many of my students are either from families that depend on seafood or tourist trade for their living or are related to those that do. I would ask them how this would affect them personally as it related to the business end of things, how it would relate to them and their love of visiting the beaches and if they saw any long term effects. I would also ask how the destruction of parts of the food chain would have the potential to cause damage elsewhere within the chain. Is that repairable?

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