C3 Framework 4 Dimensions

The C3 Framework has four dimensions. To help visualize the dimensions, Lauren Schreiber Brown, Illinois college professor and history teacher, broke down the 108 page C3 Framework into a chart.

Compelling and Supporting Questions

1. Developing questions and planning inquiries through the use of compelling questions and supporting questions.

Compelling questions address significant problems or issues and may not have an answer. Supporting questions are used to address the compelling question and typically have an answer.

What is the difference between essential questions and compelling questions?

Dr. Grant Wiggins, author of Understanding By Design and education speaker, addresses the differences and provides examples of compelling and supporting questions. Dr. Wiggins says "it’s only “compelling” if it leads to debate and no final “official” answer.

Further examples of Geography compelling questions are included in the Connecticut Social Studies Framework Geography excerpt.

The Discipline Dimension: Geography

2. Pages 40-44 of the C3 document outline the disciplinary concepts and tools that students need to understand Geography.

Evaluating Sources & Using Evidence:

3. Dimension 3 builds on the skills students need to analyze information and come to a conclusion. These skills include:
gathering and evaluating sources
developing claims
using evidence to support claims

In addition, this section closely supports the CCSS ELA/Literacy anchor standards.

Communicating Conclusions & Taking Informed Action

4. Dimension 4 also closely supports the CCSS ELA/Literacy anchor standards.


Page 66-68 of the C3 Framework document provides an integrated example of the 4 dimensions for a Geography topic.