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Selecting Inspiring Questions

15-20 Minutes

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  • Examine the steps that make up a quest

  • Create a “Quest Plan” to answer your inspiring question

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We’re thinking about the question: “How can we ask, improve, and plan to investigate questions that are meaningful to us?”

Your challenge this week is to create a “Quest Map” that describes how and why you will explore your inspiring question.

Let's Get Started!


Some questions are so open and interesting they can send us on a journey of discovery!


Let’s find a question big enough to send us on a journey!


Look back at the list of questions you created about topics you are interested in.

Look only at the questions that are labeled with an “O” for open-ended.

Ask yourself:

  • Which 2 questions am I most curious about?

  • Which questions could send me on a journey of discovery?

Circle those questions!

Congratulations! You’ve found 2 inspiring questions that can take you on a quest in search of answers.



an adventurous journey taken to seek answers, gain knowledge, or achieve a goal

Did you ever notice that “quest” is part of the word “question”?

Often, quests in history and literature contain common elements.

Read below to find out some of these common elements. As you do, think about the quest you will take.


Finding a Mentor

Often, as a step on the journey of a quest, people find a mentor to help them.

Mentors act as guides, providing advice, tools, and support as they seek answers to the question they are exploring.

On your quest, you can also find a mentor to help you. Maybe your mentor has been on a similar quest. Maybe they have studied your question themselves.

Do you have someone that can be your mentor as you search for answers?


Searching for Knowledge

Of course you will need to find sources of information to help you on your quest. Books, websites, videos, and other resources can help you learn and explore.

It’s important to make sure that you find reliable sources. Go to websites that you know and trust, ask your mentor to help you, and look for information in multiple locations!


Testing and Trying

Sometimes on a quest, you have to develop new skills, experiment with new methods of learning, test out different ideas, and explore new ways to find information.

During your quest, your tests and trials often won’t work. They’ll just lead to more questions. These failures will be part of your learning! Or maybe they aren’t failures at all…

Thomas Edison, the famous inventor (and someone who went on many quests!), said: “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”


Your challenge this week is to create a “Quest Map” that describes how you will explore your inspiring question.

Today, you will make a plan to help you create your “Quest Map.”


Remember when you chose the questions that you were most curious about? Ask yourself:

  • Which one of your questions could really send you on a quest?

Choose your best question and circle it! This is a QUEST-LEVEL question. Ask yourself:

  • Why is learning about this important to me ?

Think about how you would search for the answer to this question.

  • Who could help you along the way?

  • What are 3 things you could do on your quest to answer your question?

  • Where can you find information to help you along the way?


Goals for your “Quest Plan”:

  • Presents the inspiring question that is guiding your quest

  • Identifies the steps of your journey in words or pictures

  • Gives an explanation of why this journey is important to you


Create your “Quest Plan”!

On a piece of paper (or the “Quest Plan” handout), use words or pictures to plan your quest to answer your inspiring question. Your plan should include:

  • Your inspiring question

  • The person or people who can help you along the way

  • At least 3 things you will do on your quest

  • When you can start on your quest

  • Where you will go to gather your information

  • Explanation of why this is important to you

Remember to save your plan! You’ll use it to create your final “Quest Map.”


Read the “Big Questions: What Is the Brightest Star?” article from Newsela (MAX Lexile recommended), adapted from NASA SpacePlace, about someone else’s big question. 

Respond to the following questions:

  • How do scientists measure the brightness of a star?

  • How do you think scientists designed their plan to investigate the brightness of a star?

There are several other articles about Big Questions on Newsela. Check them out to learn more!

Ready for Day 3?

On day 3, you will work to improve your “Quest Plan.”

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