Learning to Love, Loving to Learn

A thinking strategy in Grade 6

A thinking strategy in Grade 6
Naini Singh

"If I look confused it is because I am thinking."

Samuel Goldwyn

"If I look confused it is because I am thinking."

Samuel Goldwyn

Students were given 6 hexagons to work with.

They had to connect them in a way that made most sense  to them. Nothing new here. We've done this activity many times before but there were three additions to the task which I hoped would make them think
They were allowed to look for case studies and evidence to support their connections.

1) I added one hexagon that didn't quite seem to fit in with the rest. Can you spot it? Another one was there to promote cognitive dissonance- a feeling of discomfort which may stop them from making certain connections. (They may not find it easy to digest the fact that some people eat apes.)

2) Next, I asked them to make a generalization about diseases based on the connections they made. What was a recurring pattern that could prompt them to come up with a big idea.

3) And finally, which one hexagon would they remove and what could they replace it with. They of course had to give reasons. We kept asking "So what?" to help them build their reasoning. Tweaking an old strategy helped . The students had to make decisions.

This group made a cyclical connection. 

This group placed human aid aid at the center. They struggled to make a generalisation. They will reflect on what they could have done in order to make it easier to come to a big understanding. There struggled to find a pattern.

The green group thought water was they key factor but found it hard to connect the hexagons in a way that made sense to them. As a result their generalization came after a long, battled discussion. Nevertheless, they kept trying and came up with one!

This group tried a linear approach and wanted to make connections with each hexagon. They ended up using a cyclical model. When they did that, the structure allowed them to make yet another powerful connection: the vicious nature of the cycle of poverty. Aid helps developing countries recover and yet because of the unhygienic environment people live in, the people are always susceptible to diseases.

Trading one Hexagon

One group decided to get rid of the dirty water as they could not find a good connection the chimpanzee. They would change it for a picture of the Ebola virus.

Another group wanted to change they Chimpanzee for a picture of an ape in a science lab (being used by scientists to discover  cures for the virus). Great thinking!

I worked alongside them and came up with some startling facts.

Apparently, poor countries get around 1.3 trillion dollars in aid...and here I was stumped... The Guardian adds  that almost  3.3 trillion dollars move out from poor countries to the rich ones! Who was helping who! It would be interesting to replace dirty tap water with a bank note and see how the inquiry could go with that. It may move away from diseases and inch towards global economics!

This activity allowed students to use their knowledge of diseases. They were able to show their understanding of the central idea by making connections between different concepts. Finally, they were able to make generalizations. Some may not have been very successful at it, yet the recognized a good one when they heard it:

"Most  people in poor societies cannot afford proper (health) care, so they require on help from other."

 (Harumi, Someno, Linnea- Grade 6B Thinkers)                                 




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