- Select an Overarching Question, Topic, or Concept (e.g. Government)
- Breakdown the Overarching Question, Topic, or Concept into subordinate questions. For example:
a. How might leaders become leaders?
b. Why is government needed?
c. Why are governments given certain powers?
d. How does a government get its authority?
e. How might governments be structured?
f. Why might governments be structured differently?
- Arrange students in groups of 3-5
- Give each group one marker and a large piece of poster paper with one of the subordinate questions (see a-f in Step 2) written on the top of each paper. Each group should be given a different colored marker.
- Present the following directions to the students: “Each group will be given 3-5 minutes to brainstorm then write one response to each of the questions on the poster papers. After time elapses (or each group writes one response), the poster paper will be circulated to the next group. Each group is asked to come up with a different response and add it to the paper. When groups receive their original question back with responses from every group, they are to summarize or synthesize the responses and present their summaries to the rest of the class.”
- Brainstorm, Select and Respond – groups are given 3-5 minutes to discuss then contribute (i.e. write one response) to the graffiti poster paper.
- Groups Switch Papers and Questions. Repeat step 6 noting that subsequent groups may need more time to think of responses not recorded previously.
- Evaluate and Synthesize: When each group receives its original question with responses from all other groups, they are to evaluate and synthesize the information. What may be accurate, credible, naïve…about the responses? What might be some of the “big ideas” that emerge?
- Presentations: Each group presents its synthesis briefly to the rest of the class.
- Postings (optional): Hang the graffiti posters around the room, bulletin board, or hallway to draw ongoing attention to the topic, question, or concept. Leave a marker nearby for students to add additional responses before or after class, or after they have completed an in-class assignment (“sponge” activity).