Friday, February 20, 2009

Curriculum Framing Questions

All lessons in today's educational system are based upon an objective and/or standard. These objectives may take weeks to be measured, or could be measured in a single class period. And whether a teacher is developing a lesson to teach a specific state standard, or they are writing an objective to outline what their class is discussing that day, the goal remains the same: to ensure the students have mastered the objective through the teaching process. Curriculum framing questions provide a way for teachers to establish clear goals for their students on three levels. Essential Questions are open-ended questions which focus on broad concepts, which may even apply to other disciplines. Unit Questions are also open-ended, but cover content specific concepts and could span the entire length of a chapter or unit. Content Questions have a set of defined answers and most often cover specific facts.

My unit topic for this particular class is "Africa: Before, During, & After World War II". As much as any continent, Africa's history has been shaped by forces from outside its borders. We will explore Europe's influence on Africa's social and political structures before World War II, and how the war itself affected it. The class will then see how today's Africa was shaped by these events. These are my curriculum framing questions for my unit:

Essential Question: How can war change the world?

Unit Questions: How can war effect a nation directly involved in the conflict? How can war effect a nation not directly involved in the conflict? How are colonies effected by their parent nation's conflicts?

Content Questions: How did World War II lead to independence for some African nations? How did European nations change the social classes, economies, and migratory patterns of Africa? Describe the infrastructures left in place by European governments.


  1. Coach, looks to be a very interesting unit ..I am sure students can relate and transfer insights to what is happening around us today that will definately effect us in the future ..

  2. Thanks for your class reflections. Glad that you are using LexConnect more for your own class. Your unit seems well thought out; you should be able to find many possible ways to relate Africa’s history. One thought is that since you are referring to war in your unit question, you will probably want to avoid this in your essential question. You seem to focusing on the big ideas of conflict as well as change. A slight rewording might be:
    How can I change the world?
    How does conflict change the world?

  3. The topic of this project is an outstanding way to get the students to see clearly how the turmoil that is going on in our world today can impact their world tomorrow. I salute you for this wonderful learning activity for your students! This is also an excellent way to engage the students in discovering the significance of history in our lives and being able to distinguish between fact and fiction--which they are fed constantly through the biased media in today's world. I could think of nothing to suggest that would improve your questions except perhaps one little grammatical error, which has to do with the use of "affect" and "effect." In your Unit Topic description, the word "affected" is used correctly. However in your Unit Questions, the spelling is "effect" and "effected," which I believe was probably just a typographical error. The spelling of those words should be "affect" and "affected" also. Again, this is really a wonderful way for the students to learn about the importance of history in our lives, and I highly commend you for teaching these skills to your students.

  4. Spelling & arch enemy