The Depth and Complexity thinking tool ⏳ Change Over Time does exactly what it sounds like: gets students looking at a topic across multiple time periods.
I love to introduce this with old photos of Mickey Mouse, McDonald’s storefronts, and (of course) pictures of me growing up.
However, don’t keep this prompt at the surface-level. At first, kids will point out that Mr. Byrd used to, yes, have hair. My skin was smoother. I had no beard.
That’s fine, but note that all of those changes are literally on-the-surface.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure our use of Depth and Complexity is truly changing students’ thinking. It’s easy to “use” Depth and Complexity and yet have low-level thinking at the same time.
This is a reason to combine ⏳ Change Over Time with other prompts. Rather than just asking “How has Mr. Byrd changed over time?” We could ask:
- How have the ⚖️ problems I deal with ⏳ changed as I’ve aged?
- How have the 🚦 rules I follow ⏳ changed over time?
- How has the 👄 language I use changed?
And so on. Notice that, by adding in another prompt, the questions force students to think more deeply.
Thinking Skills, Too
Don’t forget to check your thinking skills. It’s easy to end up at the bottom of Bloom’s, merely asking students to make lists of “how things changed.” Make sure to:
- Ask kids to compare and contrast (“How have Mr. Byrd’s problems changed compared to Ms. Chan’s?”).
- Ask for interesting opinions and evaluation (“Would you consider the change in my rules to be positive or negative?”).
- Consider hypothetical changes (“What if, in the future, Mr. Byrd changes his rules back to those he followed when he was 18? What would happen?”)
Of course, this can apply easily to content as well:
- How did Julius Caesar follow different rules as a soldier compared to a consul?
- What language did Lincoln use as a lawyer compared to a president?
- Compare and contrast the rules of spelling in the US Constitution with those of modern-day.
- How has the volume of laptops changed over time? What are the most significant influences on that change?
So, to properly implement ⏳Change Over Time, make sure you’re combining it with another prompt and taking kids high up on Bloom’s Taxonomy!