A lot of talk on the math-ed-web-o-sphere has focused on effective techniques for engaging students in solving problems (e.g. Dan Meyer’s 3 Acts) and especially on perfecting the hook: the juicy image, movie, story, question, etc. that gets students wondering and conjecturing.

In the part of my job in which I am a math coach, we’ve been having a lot of conversations about structuring the curriculum to make big ideas and connections more prominent. One hypothesis is that students in “math class mode” focus on solving *this* problem and *that other* problem and never “how do *these* problems fit together and help me learn about interesting stuff?”

If that’s the case, a good hook for a unit can help students learn in service of a question that’s important to them, which is a powerful and sticky and organized kind of learning. But how do you plan for that? What does it look like?

Another way to ask that is, “if a good question is Act 1, and solving it is Acts 1 – 3, what Acts might be the rest of the unit? How do they relate to Acts 1 – 3?”

Leaving aside completely for now the challenge of picking good questions, I tried to make a lesson planning framework that would help me and the teachers I work with use the good questions we come up with to make coherent unit plans that hang together around an interesting (dare we say “essential”) question.

Here’s a blank-ish version and a sample version having to do with statistics. The sample is pretty long because I used the same question to do three parts of an entire month+ long unit on statistics (displaying data, measures of center, and measures of spread).