Monday 10/02/2017 – OPENING: 15 minutes

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for 20 Questions. Only change this time around is the person with the answer is NOT going to be Mr. D.

LESSON – 30 minutes

We’ve briefly touched on the Challenge Based Learning framework, and this week we’re going to dig into that a bit deeper. We’re probably in for a few days of me talking more than usual because we have to build some foundations that we’ll need as we move forward.

But we’ll try to work in some hands-on activities as well because we all know that most people learn best by doing.

Challenge Based Learning – Engage

If we break the CBL framework into its 3 main phases, we see that it starts with the Engage phase. The word engage means to connect to or become involved with, so this makes sense, right? We start most things by engaging with them. By connecting to or becoming involved in something.

But what, specifically, does this phase entail?


  1. Big Idea
  2. Essential Question
  3. Challenge

Big Idea

Image of the list of Big Ideas we came up with.As we might remember, our Wednesday warm up is called ‘What’s the Big Idea”, and that’s specifically because every CBL unit of study begins with a Big Idea. And we need practice identifying big ideas.

Pictured here are the beginnings of Big Ideas we came up with as a result of our reading of the Guardian’s recent article, “Sixth mass extinction of wildlife also threatens global food supply“.

But let’s clarify what a Big Idea actually is. According to Grant Wiggins, “An idea is “big” if it helps us make sense of lots of confusing experiences and seemingly isolated facts…an idea is not “big” merely because it categorizes a lot of content.” He provides the following example (paraphrased):

  • The term “Relationships” certainly encompasses an enormous amount of knowledge and understanding, but…not much insight or direction beyond its definition.
  • However, “blood is thicker than water” is a Big Idea because it provides a powerful way of understanding many relationships in societies and throughout history. (

We’ll continue to practice identifying and developing Big Ideas that deserve investigation.



  • Big Ideas connect multiple disciplines.
  • Big Ideas are often abstract.
  • Big Ideas require learners to uncover them.

Quote of the Week

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”


This Week’s Agenda


20 Questions

CBL: Engage Phase, part 1


Get to the Source

CBL: Engage Phase, part 2


What’s the Big Idea?

Globalization, part 1


HOM Reflection

Globalization, part 2


Jeb is here to help...


Have questions?

  • Drop by before or after school
  • Come in at lunch
  • Ping me on Basecamp
  • Pass me a note

Whatever you do, don’t just
sit there wondering.
Get the help you need.

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