Useful Pages: What Makes You Think That?

What Makes You Think That

This is one of Harvard’s “Visible Thinking” routines.

For every opinion (or conclusion or interpretation or inference) explain your justification.

Your justification is the explanation (complete with thoughtful reasons and evidence).

For an example paragraph and more, head to our What Makes You Think That page.

Useful Pages: Essential Questions

Essential Questions open discussions about life’s big issues: death, doubt, trust, honesty, vanity, conflict, courage, marriage, identity, sense of purpose, ethics, race, gender, loyalty, friendship, hypocrisy, kindness, greed, ambition, money, cruelty, betrayal, honor, integrity, stereotypes, temptation, faith, addiction, creativity.

They don’t have easy answers.

Subject-Based Essential Questions

In every subject, there are big themes to explore. What does science teach us about testing our ideas? What does the Civil War show us about how economics pressures can affect morality? How can graphs be used to exaggerate and persuade? (And many more).

Getting Started (Examples and Sentence Stems)

  • What makes a strong friendship?
  • How do I deal with the loss of a friend?
  • When do [ideas or political issues or finances] become more important than family loyalties?
  • What can I learn about [?] from the novels we read in school?
  • How can I be a better friend?
  • What will the consequences of [X} be?
  • Why do people [do X]?
  • What is the connection between [?] and [?]?
  • How could [?] help us?
  • Why do we still [?} when we know the consequences.
  • What does [?] teach us about life?

Essential Questions Checklist!

  1. Question Will Open a Conversation
  2. Questions talk about life’s big issues and could get anyone talking at any time.
  3. The Answers Matter

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