I bookmark a lot of examples that I see on social media of uses for Hexagonal Thinking. Sometimes teachers who have been to one of my workshops mention me, and it’s great to see HT being used in the wild. Recently, one teacher even emailed me a Canva example from her 3rd graders!
What is Hexagonal Thinking?
Hexagonal Thinking involves using hexagon-shaped cards to represent different ideas, concepts, or topics. These cards can be moved around and connected to one another in order to explore relationships, make connections, and generate new ideas. You can have words and/or images on the hexagons, and connections are represented by moving hexagons next to each other so they share sides. I first learned about this technique from Pam Hook. Below is an example one small group in my classroom did when we were reflecting on the book, Tuck Everlasting.
Who Can Use Hexagonal Thinking?
If you don’t know what Hexagonal Thinking is, I cannot emphasize enough how flexible this strategy is; it can be adapted to use in any classroom for any subject in any grade level. In fact, one teacher challenged me on Twitter when I made that claim by asking, “#physed application?” I didn’t even have to answer, because another reader gave this list of options:
Thanks, Erik. I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Becky Gentry was kind enough to share a link with me from a Canva project her 3rd graders did using Hexagonal Thinking with Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.
As you can see, students don’t usually just discuss and arrange the hexagons. They generally explain their rationale for the placement in written form or out loud.
Hexagonal Thinking + Math
My former colleague, Kelly Cross, has been bringing HT to math teachers in her district. Here is a recent example:
Speaking of math, how about this idea tweeted by Laura Depp to use hexagonal pattern blocks instead of cutting out paper?
And even though this isn’t technically Hexagonal Thinking, it is a Twitter thread involving hexagons, thinking, and math from one of my favorite mathematicians, Dan Finkel and one of his followers, Hana Murray (click on this link if you want to see the whole thread):
AI + Global Goals + Hexagonal Thinking
Lastly, I have this Tweet from Marilyn McAlister, which not only demonstrates using Hexagonal Thinking with the Global Goals, but also offers the idea of using Chat GPT to suggest the terms to put in your hexagons. Pair that with Pam Hook’s Solo Hexagon Generator and you have a winning combination!
Want to Learn More?
If these examples intrigue you, but you don’t know where to start, you can take my online course or invite me to your school or district to do a workshop (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also see some other ideas for using HT in the classroom in recent blog posts I’ve done, such as this one or this one. Or, do a search on my website for even more! You can even download some free templates.