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Essential Questions

Do students follow
an inquiry process
when seeking
knowledge in
curricular subjects,
and make realworld connections
for using the process
in their own lives?
Do students
demonstrate and
maintain a critical
stance by
questioning the
validity and
accuracy of all
information?
Do students have
the capacity and
habit of mind to ask
robust questions and
to frame them in
such a way that
they go beyond a
basic Google
search for the
answer?
Do students
demonstrate
adaptable thinking
by changing the
inquiry focus,
questions, resources
or strategies when
necessary to
achieve inquiry
goals?
Are students able to
demonstrate
persistence when
gathering
information to gain
a broad
perspective?
Are students critical
consumers of

Student
Knowledge
Global problems
change over time
and require critical
thinking to arrive at
modern and
relevant solutions.
How to generate
driving questions
based on presented
problems, as well as
identify potential
strategies or
approaches for
investigating
answers.
How to develop and
refine an array of
questions to frame
their search for new
understanding, as
well as explore
questions to
promote critical
thinking and a
deeper
understanding.
How to find,
evaluate and select
appropriate sources
to answer inquiry
questions.
How to evaluate
information found in
sources on the basis
of accuracy,
validity,
appropriateness for
needs, importance,
and social and
cultural context.
How to read, view,
and listen for
information
presented in any
format (ie: digital,
text, images, multi-

K-3
Elementary
Knowledge & Skills

4-8
Middle Years
Knowledge & Skills

9-12
High School
Knowledge & Skills

With teacher
guidance, students
are starting to
engage in
brainstorming
essential or driving
questions.

Students engage in
brainstorming
essential or driving
questions with
increased
independence, and
willing to take risks to
explore unfamiliar
ideas or territory.

Students can
identify more than
one way to
approach a driving
question with the
guidance of the
teacher. With
teacher guidance,
students can refer to
the Internet for
possible answers.

When exploring a
driving question,
students can more
independently
generate possible
approaches or
strategies to solve it,
which includes
searching the
Internet to generate
reasonable ideas
and approaches.

With teacher
guidance, students
can frame questions
that go beyond
yes/no or a simple
answer. With
teacher guidance,
students begin to
refer to the Internet
as a source of
generating potential
solutions.

Students begin to
independently
frame effective
questions that
engage the inquiry
process, ones that
are neither too
narrow nor broad.
Answers are not
found in a quick
Internet search but
require evaluation,
synthesize and
engaging in deeper
understanding.
Students identify
multiple sources
(digital and nondigital) for
investigating and
may refer to the
internet as tool to
envision some
innovative solutions.

Students engage in
brainstorming
essential or driving
questions and are
willing to take risks to
branch into new
areas of learning
transferring these
inquiry skills beyond
curriculum to real
life contexts.
Students understand
that there are
several ways to
explore a driving
question. When
given a problem,
they can readily
envision a range of
strategies to
approach it, and
effectively tap into
their networks and
other digital
platforms to find
possible solutions.
Students are able to
think of questions
that require a
person to delve
deep into the inquiry
process; exploring
effective questions
that are neither too
narrow nor too
broad. Students can
take these questions
and delve into
independent online
learning
opportunities both
inside and outside of
the curriculum.
Students identify
multiple sources
(digital and nondigital) for
investigating and
refer to the internet
and networks as
sources.

multimedia? Do
students exercise
media literacy skills
that include critical
analysis of a variety
of information from
a variety of sources?
Do students give
careful
consideration to
both the message
and the medium
when considering
the validity and
value of
information?
Do students
understand how
information can be
shaped, biased, or
misrepresented?
Can students
identify fact, bias,
opinion, and slant?
Do they understand
their own biases and
worldview?
Can students form
their own opinions?
Are they
independent critical
thinkers?
Can students apply
critical thinking skills
to choose the
correct digital tool(s)
for what they want
to accomplish?
What metacognitive
processes would
students utilize when
they assess their own
work?

media) in order to
inference and
create meaning.
Use initiative and
engagement by
asking questions
and investigating
the answers beyond
the collection of
superficial facts.
Engage in inquiry
process by applying
critical thinking
(analysis, synthesis,
evaluation) to
information to
construct new
meanings, draw
conclusions and
create new
knowledge.

As a class, through
teacher mediation,
students practice
exploring issues by
engaging in asking
questions, then test
conclusions against
evidence.

Students can
understand the
purpose of driving
questions in finding
out about learning
or interests. Students
can use information
that they receive
from different places
and explain their
ideas using facts
and details.

Everyone possesses
bias and worldview,
and being aware of
personal bias and
worldview can open
one up to think in a
broader context,
therefore they seek
divergent
perspectives during
information
gathering.
Students know how
to critically appraise
which digital tool(s)
will be most suitable
for what they want
to accomplish in
their investigation.

Through teacher
guidance, as a class
students reflect
critically on learning
experiences and
inquiry processes.

Students reflect
critically on learning
experiences and
inquiry processes
with teacher
guidance. They
conclude an inquirybased research
process by sharing
new understandings
and reflecting on
their learning
process, considering
how to revise
strategies for future
learning.

As a class, students
discuss learning
experiences and
reflections at the
conclusion of the
inquiry process.

With teacher
mediation, students
interpret findings,
draw conclusions
based on analysis
and engage in
reflection on
learning
experiences and
processes.

Students know that
inquiry thinking and
problem solving is
not a linear process,
but rather a cyclical
one, that
encourages revisitation of all
elements of the
process.
How to follow
ethical and legal
guidelines when
gathering and using
information during
inquiry.
Students engage in
metacognitive
processes and
actively reflect on
their learning.

With teacher
guidance, students
employ a critical
stance, using both
divergent and
convergent thinking
to generate
alternative
conclusions and test
them against the
evidence.
Students use
information from a
variety of digital and
non-digital sources
to help investigate
the driving question,
generate follow-up
questions to
broaden inquiry,
then through
investigation and
teacher guidance,
decide if
information is
relevant or if
enough has been
gathered to
sufficiently answer
inquiry.

With greater
independence
employ a critical
stance, using both
divergent and
convergent thinking
to generate
alternative
conclusions and test
them against the
evidence.
Students use
information from a
variety of digital and
non-digital sources
to help investigate
the driving question,
generate follow-up
questions to
broaden inquiry,
then interpret and
assess information
for possible solutions
or answers, then
revise inadequate
solutions. Finally,
through
investigation reflect
and decide if
information is
relevant or if
enough has been
gathered to
sufficiently answer
inquiry, or examine
steps for further
inquiry.
Students conclude
an inquiry-based
research process by
reflecting critically
on learning
experiences and
inquiry processes
and identify
practices for future
inquiry
investigations, and
share new
understandings.
They reflect on their
learning by assessing
the processes by
which learning was
achieved in order to
revise strategies and
learn more
effectively in the
future.
Students reflect and
extrapolate what
data or information
actually addresses
the problem, and
discards what's
necessary. Then
interpret findings,
draw conclusions
based on analysis
and reflect critically

Monitor own
information seeking
processes for
effectiveness and
progress and adapt
as necessary.
Students interact
and act on
feedback from
teachers and peers
to guide own inquiry
process.

on learning
experiences and
processes.

Through teacher
guidance, students
consider issues from
more than one
perspective.

Students engage in
lateral thinking and
through teacher
mediation, explore
how problems
originate. Through
teacher guidance,
consider issues from
multiple
perspectives,
question
assumptions, than
use this information
to explore their own
perspectives.

Students engage in
lateral thinking and
explore how
problems originate.
They consider issues
from multiple
perspectives,
question
assumptions, than
use this information
to explore their own
perspectives and
how these are
shaped by their own
world views.