Think Puzzle Explore
A routine that sets the stage for deeper inquiry

1. What do you think you know about this topic?

2. What questions or puzzles do you have?

3. How can you explore this topic?


Purpose: What kind of thinking does this routine encourage?

To help students connect to prior knowledge, to stimulate curiosity and to lay the groundwork for independent inquiry. ts connect to prior knowledge, to stimulate curiosity and to lay the groundwork for independts connect to prior knowledge, to stimulate curiosity and to lay the groundwork for independ

Application: When and Where can it be used?
Use Think/Puzzle/Explore when you are beginning a topic and when you want students to develop their own questions of investigation.

Launch: What are some tips for starting and using this routine?
Begin by giving students a few quiet moments to consider the topic at hand. Then, work as a whole class or in small groups and brainstorm ideas in the three areas. Make sure to give adequate time between each question for students to think about and articulate their ideas.

When beginning to use this routine it is sometimes best to do the Think and Puzzle questions together first. In some cases, you may want to have students do this part of the routine individually on paper or in their heads before sharing ideas in a group. Return to the Explore question after sharing ideas and puzzles. It may be helpful to a think about what makes an interesting question, or puzzle, and then discuss strategies for exploring selected questions.

Think Puzzle Explore: Pictures of Practice
What does the routine look like in action?

Using the Routine to Explore a Social Studies Topic
To get her class ready for the new social studies unit, The Changing Earth, Allison Fritcher asked her 5th grade students to look at a photograph of what appeared to be an aerial view of a land mass. She used the “What makes you say that?” routine to help her students observe the image and make interpretations about what they were seeing.

Image of Namibia used with the WMS routine and to help launch Social Studies unit, The Changing Earth.

The short activity and conversation allowed the students think about what they already knew about the planet and primed them for thinking more deeply about their upcoming social studies topic, the changing earth.

Allison continued the discussion by asking her class to think about their new social studies topic, the changing Earth.  “It seems we already know a lot about this topic just by the kinds of things you noticed in this image of Namibia.  What other things do you think you know about the way the Earth changes?”  [Image 2]

Note that it is common for students to have misconceptions about a topic at this point—include them on the list so all ideas are available for consideration after further study.Students may at first list seemingly simplistic ideas and questions. Include these on the whole class list but push students to think about things that are truly puzzling or interesting to them. 

Keep a visible record of students’ ideas.  If you are working in a group, ask students to share some of their thoughts and collect a broad list of ideas about the artwork or topic on chart paper.  Or students can write their individual responses on post-it notes and later add them to a class list of ideas.

 

New Style for headings in text

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