Citizenship – Station 3: Driving Questions

Step 1: Examine the following document on creating ‘Driving/Inquiry Questions’ that power Project Based Learning. Create three sample questions of your own using the pathway.

Types of Questions

There’s an art to developing driving questions, because there isn’t a specific formula you must follow. Though, you can find some examples and structures to help you out. Below are some types of driving questions. Maybe some of these will be the spark that inspires you write your next driving question.

FRAMING WORDS  … these are the words we start our driving question with:
How can …
How do …
Should …
Could …
What …

WHO’S INVOLVED …  determining who is involved in the question.
We as [Roles/Occupations]

ACTION WORD … what will the project do?
Build, create, make, design, plan, solve, write, propose, decide.

TARGET … who or what is the target of the question – project.
Real world problem, a group, a school, a classroom, a family, a person

? Solve a Problem: There’s a real-world predicament with multiple solutions.


  • How can we beautify the vacant lot across the street for $200?
  • What’s the best way to stop the flu at our school?
  • Design a better lunch menu for our school.
  • Design a safe and sturdy bridge to replace one in our city.


? Educational: The purpose of the project is to teach others.


  • How can we teach second graders about helpful insects.
  • Create a campaign to teach senior citizens how to use an iPad.
  • What do the students at our school need to know about being respectful?


? Convince Others: Students persuade a specified audience to do something or change their opinions.


  • Create a public service announcement (PSA) that persuades teens to drink more water.
  • Drive yourself to define a question and then Prove It to your classmates.
  • Convince grocery shoppers to return their shopping carts.
  • How can we convince our principal that we should have a party in December?


? Broad Theme: The project tackles big ideas.


  • What does it mean to read?
  • How does conflict lead to change?
  • How does math influence art?
  • How do writers persuade others?
  • How are good and evil depicted in different cultures?


? Opinion: Students need to consider all sides of an issue in order to form and justify their opinions.


  • Should pets be allowed to attend class?
  • Why has a woman never been a U.S. president?
  • What makes a good astronaut?


? Divergent: Students make predictions about alternative timelines and scenarios.


  • What if Violet Desmond gave up her seat?
  • What if the world ran out of oil tomorrow?
  • How might your city change if the climate became an average of 10°C warmer?
  • What if the Canada stopped accepting immigrants?


? Scenario-Based: Students take on a fictional role with a mission to accomplish.


  • You’re a NASA engineer, and you are in charge of building a moon base. What are the ten most important things to include and why?
  • Imagine that you are Justin Trudeau. How would solve the problem of child poverty in Canada?
  • You are the CEO of a company that is designing a new social media app. Present a business plan to your investors that explains how your company will make money.
  • You’ve been hired to revamp your local shopping mall. Come up with a plan to increase business.
  • How would you spend $1,000,000 to help your community?



Below is a checklist to help you refine your question. You might not be able to check off all the items, but the more the merrier!


  • The question is appealing to students.
  • The question taps into students’ interests and passions.
  • The question does not sound like a test question.
  • The question leads to more questions.
  • There is more than one answer to the question.
  • The topic is personal or local.
  • Students can relate to the question in their daily lives.
  • The question is concise.
  • Students will have choices for end products.
  • There is an authentic audience for the project.
  • The question requires serious investigation.
  • Students will learn important skills and content.
  • The question has no easy answer.
  • The project will somehow make a difference in the world.SOURCE:


Step 2: Watch this video on ‘The Phantom Traffic Jam’ and create one powerful driving question about traffic, driving or the school bus experience.