We’ve noticed over the years of facilitating our PBL 101 workshops that one of the most challenging parts for teachers designing a project is writing the driving question. One reason is that it’s a writing task, and not everyone is a writer. Many teachers are great at creating curriculum units and lesson plans, and many are great at working with students, but crafting the wording of a question that captures the heart of a project can be tricky.
Let's review. A good driving question meets the following criteria:
- Engaging for students. It is understandable and interesting to students, and it provokes further questions and focuses their inquiry process.
- Open-ended. There are several possible answers, and it cannot simply be Googled.
- Aligned with learning goals. To answer it, students will need to learn the targeted content and skills.
Let’s look at some typical “first drafts” and how they can be improved to better meet the above criteria.