This strategy helps a group of students share and discuss ideas in order to produce a collective, agreed-upon response.
Why use it?
- To sort given or researched facts, analyse information or brainstorm ideas
- To give students opportunity to consider different points of view
- To provide students with opportunity to explain their ideas and points of view
- To enhance critical thinking skills
- To help students develop collaboration and consensus-building skills
Tips for success
- It may be necessary to review strategies for a good group discussion.
- Have the groups each select one member to report to the class
How do I use it?
- Divide class into discussion groups of 4-6. Establish the topic, issue or question for discussion in the groups.
- Provide a large paper or chart paper and have the students divide the page in sections equalling the number of students in the group. Have them leave a central section of the paper to be used later for recording the group consensus.
- Give students a predetermined amount of time to think about and record their own ideas (or information, research, viewpoints, etc.) on post-it notes, which they will affix in their section of the Consensus Mat.
- Each group then will discuss the responses and come to a collective response (which is added to the central section of the mat) that will be shared with the class.
- This strategy could also be done using an online recording platform, such as Google Docs.
- The Consensus Mats can be posted after completion to share with the rest of the class.
- Responses can be ranked in order of importance or significance.
- Students could communicate responses in other formats (posters, oral presentations, skits, etc.).