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See Think Wonder | Inquiry Lesson Plan Strategy

Updated: May 14, 2023

See Think Wonder

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The See-Think-Wonder strategy is a transformative student-centered approach to learning. This method, part of Harvard's Project Zero Visible Thinking routines, encourages students to observe, interpret, and inquire about various topics, promoting critical thinking and active participation in the classroom. In this blog post, we'll delve into the specifics of this strategy, its advantages, and the ways teachers can effectively implement it in their lessons.


What is the See-Think-Wonder Strategy?

The See-Think-Wonder strategy encourages students to make careful observations, thoughtful interpretations, and curious inquiries about what they see. In essence, it is a structured format that allows students to approach new information or concepts with curiosity, critically analyze them, and express their thoughts, questions, and wonderings.

See-Think-Wonder can be used across a wide array of subjects, from analyzing works of art in history to interpreting scientific phenomena in physics. Its adaptability makes it a versatile tool in a teacher's instructional arsenal.

The Steps in See-Think-Wonder

The See-Think-Wonder strategy comprises three simple, yet profound, steps:

  1. See: Students observe carefully and describe what they see in an image, text, experiment, situation, or concept. This step is about gathering information without making judgments or interpretations.

  2. Think: Students interpret what they have observed. They express what they think is happening or what they think the observed item or concept means.

  3. Wonder: Students ask questions about what they have observed and interpreted. They express their curiosity, revealing what they would like to explore further or what they find confusing or intriguing.

Benefits of See-Think-Wonder

The See-Think-Wonder method promotes active learning and engagement. Here are some of its key benefits:

  1. Fosters Critical Thinking: By prompting students to observe, interpret, and inquire, the strategy encourages critical thinking skills.

  2. Enhances Observation Skills: The 'See' phase helps students improve their observation skills, a crucial component of learning.

  3. Promotes Curiosity and Inquiry: The 'Wonder' phase stimulates curiosity, leading students to ask insightful questions and seek answers.

  4. Facilitates Classroom Discussion: The strategy provides a structured format for class discussions, promoting a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Implementing See-Think-Wonder in the Classroom

To effectively implement the See-Think-Wonder strategy in your classroom, consider the following steps:

  1. Choose an Appropriate Subject: Select an image, text, concept, or situation that is rich in detail and stimulates curiosity.

  2. Guide the Students: Lead your students through the See-Think-Wonder steps, encouraging every student to participate. It's essential to create a safe environment where students feel comfortable sharing their observations, thoughts, and questions.

  3. Encourage Discussion: Facilitate discussions based on students' responses. Use their wonderings as a launching pad for further exploration of the topic.

  4. Follow up: After the exercise, find ways to explore the questions and wonderings that arose. This could mean designing future lessons around these questions or assigning research projects for students to delve deeper.

In conclusion, the See-Think-Wonder strategy is an effective inquiry-based teaching method that encourages students' active participation, critical thinking, and curiosity. As educators, embracing such strategies is a step towards creating a more engaging and effective learning environment. Let's ignite curiosity, foster inquiry, and create lifelong learners!

About inquirED

inquirED was founded by teachers with the mission of bringing inquiry-based social studies to every classroom. Inquiry Journeys, inquirED’s elementary social studies curriculum, is used in schools and districts across the country to help students develop deep social studies content knowledge and build the inquiry skills that are essential for a thriving democracy.

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