Sunday, April 13, 2014

See Think Wonder


Often when I start a unit I provide students an opportunity to use a guided inquiry lesson, like looking at a complex model.  Of course, the lesson is always driven by backwards planning and keeping in mind the grade level expectations that students are expected to meet.  The See-Think-Wonder thinking routine lends itself nicely to that. Students were put into random groups of three, given the weather map below and given a key to decipher the symbols so they are not completely lost. They were then asked to write what they see on the map, what they think is happening, and what they wonder about.

This lesson was surprisingly engaging, even for 8th graders.  All students were on task and enjoyed that chance to collaborate and even struggle together. Groups took turns to share out, and as I should have figured, many of the observations were pretty superficial due to a lack of background. Perhaps they were starting to "peel the fruit."  The lesson , however, did serve nicely as a pretest and it also started to build a foundation of understanding just by becoming familiar with they symbols alone.

I plan on giving this same lesson again towards the end of the unit after they have more background knowledge and better understand the complex interactions that make weather. I will challenge them with some more higher level thinking around making predictions for future based on current conditions. 


  1. I can see where this thinking routine would engage students in wondering about the topic of weather patterns. I was engaged at our PLC when you presented this. We all want to be in your class learning about weather patterns. Not only does the thinking routine fit your purpose as a hook for your audience, it provides students with a method to record their thoughts. Weather affects all of us, and it's one of those natural phenomena over which humans have no control. And let's face it, humans have a strong need to understand that which we cannot control. Very cool, Jon.

  2. Jon- I loved this idea of giving kids such a complex graphic to ponder. I am always looking for ways to get kids interested and often forget how powerful a picture can be. When you shared this at PLC my brain immediately went to how I could use the See, Think, Wonder routine with our US regions unit. I have been struggling with how to get them to ask deeper level "thick" questions and your example made me realize that I may not be giving them enough to chew on. Thanks for the push!

  3. I am so glad you presented this at PLC- I agree with Barb and Caitlin- this routine allowed you to hook your students, get them asking questions and interested in the topic. Way more authentic than a textbook or a lecture. Even for 8th graders! It just shows that students never lose the ability to inquire, or the desire to dig deeper into a topic. It is so critical we, as teachers, are thoughtful about how we guide our students in their learning and understanding. Thanks for sharing this!