Key Idea Recommendation 7: Help students build explanations by asking and answering deep questions.
When students have acquired a basic set of knowledge about a particular topic of study and are ready to build a more complex understanding of a topic, the expert panel recommends that teachers find opportunities to ask questions and model answers to these questions, in order to help students build deep explanations of key concepts.
By deep explanations, we mean explanations that appeal to causal mechanisms, planning, well-reasoned arguments, and logic. Examples of deep explanations include those that inquire about causes and consequences of historical events, motivations of people involved in historical events, scientific evidence for particular theories, and logical justifications for the steps of a mathematical proof.
Examples of the types of questions that prompt deep explanations are why, why-not, how, what-if, how does X compare to Y, and what is the evidence for X? These questions and explanations occur during classroom instruction, class discussion, and during independent study.


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