Of course, for Big Questions to become answerable, we need to provide stimuli, information, facts and ideas and help increase our students’ knowledge and awareness.
We can do this in lots of ways. For example, if we look at the Big Question ‘What powers our lives?’ we might want to provide information about the sun, about wind and water energy, about how electricity is created, how fossil fuels are found and why they are difficult to renew.
This could lead us on to thinking about our own usage of different sources of power, if we could become more ecologically aware, and how this might be achieved.
It’s important to do this type of activity in stages. If we take the sun as our first subtopic, we could break it down like this:
- What is the sun?
- What is it composed of?
- What effect does it have on our planet?
- How is sunlight utilized?
- How do we harness the energy of the sun to power our homes and industries?
- Is the sun a renewable source?
- What other energy sources are renewed by nature?
- Why is it good/ necessary to use renewable energy sources?
Now let’s look at a Big Question which we might use with younger children: ‘Why do we go to school?’
We can break this down like this:
- What lessons do you do at school?
- Which lessons are your favorite?
- Why do you think we learn math?
- Do you use math outside of school?
- When and where and how?
- What about other lessons?
- How are they useful outside school?
- Apart from lessons, what else do you do at school?
- Do you like being with your classmates?
- Do you sometimes like to work alone?
- Do you think you could do everything you do at school if you stayed at home all day?
- Can you think of something which you don’t do at school now but would like to?