See, Think, Wonder

See, Think, Wonder is a thinking routine we use often in our classroom to explore works of art, photographs, and other thought-provoking pieces. This routine comes from Harvard’s Project Zero: Making Thinking Visible, and it encourages children to make thoughtful observations and interpretations. Project Zero states that this routine “helps stimulate curiosity and sets the stage for inquiry.”

When we noticed that our students were consistently creating mazes using blocks in our Construction Centre, artful materials in our Production Centre, and outdoors using nature, we pondered ways in which to encourage our students to look even closer at the elements and criteria of mazes. After creating collaborative class mazes and placing photographs of mazes in the classroom, the See, Think, Wonder thinking routine was an effective way for us to allow our students to develop their abilities in observation, theorizing, and reasoning.

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A photograph of a maze was placed on our projector, and students were asked: What do you see? What do you think about that? What does it make you wonder?

Here is an excerpt from the ensuing conversation:


I see different lines in different directions. ­– J

And there’s stops. If you go down there or there and here, you stop. – H

I think each line is a different path. – C

I see some patterns. There are parts that look the same. – E

I wonder if you go in the path, would you see colours like a rainbow? – O

I wonder if it starts here. – H

I wonder… how do you get to the end? – S

I wonder how you keep track of where you’ve gone and where you haven’t, because then you could go one way and you might go back to the start without knowing… – L


 This knowledge building conversation supported the students in thinking more deeply about a topic of interest to them, allowing them to be re-inspired to investigate mazes with a new lens. It also gave us as educators a window into what our students were thinking and wondering about, and supported us in providing further questions and provocations afterwards. Whether this routine is used near the beginning, middle or end of a project, it is sure to provoke thought and dialogue among our youngest learners.

Copies of this text are available online through Chapters Indigo at:

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Making-Thinking-Visible/9780470915516-item.html?s_campaign=goo-BooksByTitle&gclid=COXN1qOppb4CFcpcMgodBUEAMA


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