Can also be referred to as "driving questions" for inquiry or project based learning.
"Umbrella questions are overarching questions to help guide the learning process by connecting to big ideas and themes. Big ideas “go beyond discrete facts or skills to focus on larger concepts, principles, or processes” (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998, p.10)
It may take several drafts to develop umbrella questions that meet both student and teacher expectations. An umbrella question is developed to help ground the inquiry. The question should be focused – it’s not aiming to answer all aspects of an issue. The question should be of interest to the students and also connect to the big ideas of the unit or subject."