I see many teachers using the prompts of depth and complexity, but the content imperatives seem to get less love. And when I do see them, they tend to be used in isolation.
If you’re unfamiliar with these thinking tools, I wrote up a guide many moons ago.
If you do know about them, here are two ways to wring even more power from the content imperatives.
Combine With Depth and Complexity
The content imperatives should be combined with depth and complexity. Rather than just asking about “origins” in general, ask about “the origins of the rules” or “the origins of the ethical problems” in the topic you’re studying.
Don’t just ask about “parallels,” ask about “parallel ethical issues” or “parallel patterns.”
Or, rather than just investigating “convergence,” ask how “multiple perspectives converge” or how “details converge to form patterns.”
Each content imperative acts as a lens to make depth and complexity even more specific.
Climb Bloom’s Taxonomy
All of these prompts should be combined with Bloom’s Taxonomy to unlock real depth.
Beware asking students to only “identify” or “look for examples” of origins, parallels, and paradoxes. Instead:
- Compare and contrast the origins of rules
- Justify an opinion about the parallels of ethical issues
- Explain how change over time is a paradox
- Create a new example of how details converge to create a pattern
Each step up Bloom’s increases the thinking required from students. And by combining depth and complexity, content imperatives, and Bloom’s, you’ll add incredible power to any bland ol’ objective.