Sandra Kaplan’s icons for Depth and Complexity are great ways to learn more about topics in every part of the curriculum. I particularly like the students to use them to help them gather more information when they research. My 2nd graders are still learning how to apply the icons, so I was happy to see these Depth and Complexity for Critical Thinking Mats on Teachers Pay Teachers. After downloading these, I printed the colored mats and laminated them for use with my younger students. They are currently studying the structures of animals. Before I let them loose on researching their own animals, I wanted to show them the different ways we could look at the information. I chose some videos about leaf-cutter ants to show the class, and divided the students into groups of 3 – giving each group a different mat with a question about the topic. As they watched the videos, the students used dry-erase markers to fill in information that applied to their question. At the end, we put all of their information together into one PDF to share their learning on Seesaw. (By the way, there are more than 6, but I chose these specifically for this topic.)
This was the first time I had tried this, and I felt that it went really well as it helped the students to narrow their focus and take notes. Next week, we will synthesize what they have learned about leaf-cutter ants using those notes.
I would recommend this activity for any class being introduced to Depth and Complexity, or to use any time you are showing a video or lecture to a whole class. The students pay more attention when their video watching has a particular purpose, and it’s interesting to see the different ways that you can look at one topic.