THE PERFORMANCE TASK
the thinking blocks
IDENTIFY TOPICS & ASK QUESTIONS
DRAFT

 

DETERMINE PURPOSE & AUDIENCE
REVISE & EDIT

 

RESEARCH

 

SHARE & REFLECT
ANALYZE

 

FORMATIVE TASK

Ask important questions.

WHAT’S THIS TASK ABOUT?

The best way to launch into research or exploration of a topic is by getting curious! And the best way to do this is not just by asking questions, but by finding inspiration and ideas. Tap into your interests and be clear about what your questions are helping you to uncover. Otherwise you can end up wasting time researching things that are not going to be helpful, interesting or relevant. 

Asking questions may seem like such an everyday, no-big-deal action, but it actually takes skill and practice to get good at questioning in a way that gets you the information you are seeking. Professors, teachers, businesses, writers, marketers, and many other professionals attest to the importance of questioning skills to express ideas in clear and compelling ways.

Choose your pathway.

You know your learning needs best.

How exactly do I do this? If this is new learning or you need more practice, go through the steps, and use the resources you need for your learning.

Been there, done that. OK! If you are familiar with this task and feel confident about it, you can go straight to the evidence of learning to strut your stuff.

How am I doing? Self-assessing against clear criteria and getting feedback on your work can only make it stronger!

Help! Asking others for help and finding support resources is such a great lifelong skill. Good on you. 

Walk me through the steps, please.

I’m ready to show what I can do!

I’d like to self-assess my learning.

More support, please.

 

Jump into the task of asking important questions!

Make meaning of the task and what the learning expectations are. 

Then investigate and get curious.

Finally, assess the quality of your work and make any revisions necessary. Reflect on your learning. 

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

 

MAKE MEANING

FORMATIVE TASK OVERVIEW: ASK IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

WHAT AM I GOING TO LEARN?  

I will be building the critical competency of EXPRESSING IDEAS, in particular the skill of finding inspiration and ideas.

LEVEL & INDICATOR: Level 4 – I can use observations, secondary research, and/or intellectual interests to prompt wonder, generate deep questions, and identify mentor works that relate to a topic, problem, or passion I am exploring.

HOW WILL I BE ASKED TO SHOW MY LEARNING?

I will develop quality questions to guide me towards the knowledge I want to gather about the topic in areas that are meaningful and interesting to me. 

In this task I will need to develop 1-3 open-ended/inquiry-based questions that I want to explore deeply and track them in my Formative Task Evidence of Learning

WHAT WILL HELP ME LEARN IT?

I will need to be able to gather what I know about my topic, generate authentic questions, and evaluate and refine my questions. 

I will need to understand the qualities of a question that allow me to practice my analytical and evaluative skills. 

How do I do this? Steps to Ask Important Questions

WHAT STRATEGIES WILL HELP ME? 

Questioning is a learning strategy that helps you make meaning of the world around you and helps you explore your own ideas. If you have not worked directly on strengthening your questioning skills, check out this Guide to Questioning.

TASK CRITERIA: HOW DO I KNOW IF MY QUESTIONS ARE GOOD?

Questions that deepen understanding to allow you to analyze, and evaluate a topic have these qualities.

My questions are just the right size. They:

  • are authentic and broad enough to sustain research; ie, they should meet the criteria for being a “thick” question
  • are open-ended
  • cannot be answered in 1-2 words
  • activate my background knowledge and interests
  • help me explore new ideas and new questions
  • can be explored within the scope of this project and topic; not too big and not too small: just right-sized

READINESS CRITERIA: HOW DO I KNOW WHEN I AM READY TO MOVE FORWARD?

I can use observations and/or intellectual interests to prompt wonder and generate deep questions that relate to a topic, problem, or passion I am exploring. [EXPRESS IDEAS: Find inspiration & ideas (L4-5)]

I have crafted 1-3 questions I want to explore further because they spark my curiosity about the topic.

My questions are RIGHT SIZED – not too big and not too small.

  • They are authentic and broad enough to sustain research; ie, they should meet the criteria for being a “thick” question
  • They are open-ended
  • They cannot be answered in 1-2 words
  • They activate my background knowledge and interests
  • They help me explore new ideas and new questions
  • They can be explored within the scope of this project and topic; not too big and not too small: just right-sized

 

  • I have documented my topic in the Formative Task Evidence of Learning.
HOW DO I DO IT?

INVESTIGATE

FORMATIVE TASK STEPS: ASK IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

How do I come up with quality questions?

Try these 3 STEPS:

  1. Brainstorm
  2. Make Connections
  3. Choose & Assess
 

How am I doing?

What if I get stuck or need help? For more support:

  • check out these resources
  • ask a peer for support or feedback
  • schedule a mini-conference with your teacher

 

STEP 1: GET CURIOUS

Think about what you already know about your topic and what you want to know. What ideas or connections relating to the topic are you curious about? What questions can you ask to explore those ideas and connections? 

Use this Curiosity Chart to hone in on your curiosity questions.

STEP 2: CATEGORIZE 

Now that you have a list of curiosity questions, identify the kinds of questions that are really good for guiding research and exploration. How can you categorize questions to understand which ones are best suited for our purpose? 

Use this chart to categorize into thick or thin questions. 

Study and practice the important learning strategy of questioning. Check out this  Guide to Questioning | Learning Strategy

STEP 3: CHOOSE & ASSESS 

Select your top 2-3 questions that will help you explore your topic more deeply. 

With 1-2 partners or on your own, apply the criteria to assess your questions. Do they meet the criteria?

Document your questions in the Evidence of Learning section

HOW AM I DOING?

This is a critical question to ask all along the way!

Depending on your needs, ask for feedback from your teacher before you move on to the next task. Feedback and revision are important parts of the work at every stage!

HOW DO I KNOW I DID IT WELL?

SYNTHESIZE & REFLECT

EVIDENCE OF LEARNING: ASK IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

What questions will help you clarify your understanding, explore different viewpoints and ideas, or help you make your case?  

Include 2-3 questions that will help you explore your topic more deeply. 

    • Make sure your questions meet the criteria.

Demonstrate your learning for this formative task by identifying your QUESTIONS and why they are significant for the topic. Add your questions and rationale in the Evidence of Learning section.

NOTE: Your questions may change or need to be adjusted as you investigate your topic more deeply. Keep this chart updated as needed

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SELF-ASSESS: ASK IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

Assess your readiness using the criteria. 

READINESS CRITERIA: How am I doing? Am I ready to move forward? 

  • I can develop questions that are thick enough to deeply examine, build my knowledge and interest, and learn different views and beliefs about the topic. 
  • I have documented my topic in the Formative Task Evidence of Learning.

  • I would like additional support on developing strong questions for this project.

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REFLECTION: ASK IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

Reflect on your learning process.

What did you learn about developing questions that helped you create strong questions? What changed in your learning?

How might the questioning learning strategy help you in the future?

What comes next?

 

 

Congrats!

Now that you have quality questions that will guide your exploration, it’s time to move on to the next task in your project… 

What is my final product?

Evidence of learning

What if I need help?

Tips & resources

How did my learning change?

Reflection

Am I ready to move on?

Task assessment (criteria)

Self-assessment

Resource Roundup

All the resources you will find for this task can be found right here…

Ask Important Questions: Formative Task Companion
A Guide to Questioning
What am I curious about? Chart
K-W-L Chart
Thick & Thin Questions Chart