Here’s a really simple test for any task that we put before students:
Am I asking students to think or just remember?
It sounds silly, but the more I consider it, the more interesting this distinction gets. How often are kids presented with tasks that force them to think rather than just remember information?
On a spectrum of pure remembering to hard thinking, how would you rank those tasks? Why? Perfect for brain breaks, wrapping up the day, indoor recess, or to analyze interesting strategies. Learn more...
21 Games for Paper and Pencil
Perfect for brain breaks, wrapping up the day, indoor recess, or to analyze interesting strategies. Learn more...
- Is this an igneous or sedimentary rock?
- Explain why George Washington was a great president.
- Multiply 125 × 73.
- What is the theme of Hamlet?
- I have 40 students and 12 busses, how many students go on each bus?
- Which character in this story is the bravest?
- Compare and contrast Islam and Judaism.
- Which of the Greek city-states was most powerful?
- What is the difference between a need and a want?
- What is the role of a consumer in an ecosystem?
Before you move on, look at the examples you think require the most thinking. Consider: is there any way a student might complete what looks like a “thinking” task by relying mostly on memory?
I think this question is trickier than it looks.