ICBL Strategy 4: Pose Specific Questions
A productive way to generate questions is to ask students to use a chart listing what they know and what they need to know. If students are working in a group (recommended), this might be done as a group discussion. One student could record for the group while questions, facts and issues are raised. For a case like Goodbye Honeybuckets, 10-15 minutes of class time should suffice. A brief, whole class discussion of identified questions allows the instructor to assess prior knowledge and enables students to hear each others' ideas.
Closure on this strategy: The Know/Need to Know method usually leads to a long list of questions, and there will not be time to pursue them all. Ask each group to identify 3-5 key questions about which they feel it is essential to know more.
Student responses to the Know/Need to Know analysis for Goodbye Honeybuckets:
- Alaska is cold.
- There are long nights or long days depending on the season.
- Sparsely populated.
- Permafrost makes it difficult to dig.
- There are reindeer in the tundra.
- There is oil in northern Alaska.
- Sewage treatment systems are common in the "lower 48."
- Different sewage treatment systems exist, such as lagoons, outhouses, septic tanks, city sewers.
- Need to Know:
- How do honeybuckets work (emptying, storage, recycling)?
- What is the environmental impact of current system?
- Why isn't there a municipal sewage treatment system in the village?
- What is a tribal council? How does it work?
- What is the tundra? Where is it? What lives there? How long is winter?
- What are the seasons like in Alaska (e.g., temperature differences, precipitation, sunlight, wind)?
- What is the soil chemistry and composition?
- What is permafrost, really? How does it affect sewage treatment?
- What are the problems of construction in the arctic?
- How can the tundra be hurt (appropriateness and safety of construction methods)?
Selected key questions for Goodbye Honeybuckets:
- What are the major limiting factors due to tundra climate and soils and why?
- What are the feasible sewage treatment methods and why?
- Are there other considerations for successful construction in the arctic we should be considering and why?