Understanding by Design® Framework and Essential Questions

Why Essential Questions?

Essential Questions tied to recurring American issues throughout the program inspire students to go beyond the facts and connect what they are learning to their lives and the larger world around them.

By weaving the Essential Questions throughout the program, students develop a deep understanding through thought-provoking inquiry. Students explore issues, shift their perspective and transfer what they’ve uncovered throughout the lesson and onto the next.







American Issues Connector in the Student Edition

Introduced at the beginning of each chapter, the American Issues Connector gets students to think critically about the enduring issue throughout the lesson. The review at the end of every chapter reinforces the significance of the previous key issues and debates.

Explore more online for yourself! Explore the essential question “What is the proper balance between national security and civil liberties?”



American Issues Connectors Journal

Again and again, students revisit the enduring issues that Americans have wrestled with throughout history. Students use their journal to track key American Issues over time with multiple examples to build their understanding for each question. They engage in exploration activities and write an essay.


American Issues Connectors Videos

These student-generated videos are developed and created in classrooms just like yours and lend a peer perspective to the Essential Questions.


UNDERSTANDING BY DESIGN® and UbD™ are trademarks of ASCD, and are used under license.