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Person thinking

Person thinking (masterzphotois, iStockphoto)

Person thinking

Person thinking (masterzphotois, iStockphoto)


How does this align with my curriculum?

This strategy helps students develop decision-making skills as they think about and discuss issues with the aid of a graphic organizer.

Why use it?

  • To engage all students in intelligent discourse and discussion about topic
  • To explore issues of scientific concern or controversy
  • To help students gather information (facts, statistics, examples, expert authority) and apply thinking skills (logic and reasoning) to support a collaborative conclusion to a question about an issue of concern or controversy

Tips for success

  • Pick an article that presents ideas or issues which may be controversial to the reader.
  • Write questions that can be answered with a Yes or No response (e.g., Should cod fishing be reinstated in the Maritimes?, Does Canada’s north need environmental protection?, Do cities need to restrict the use of personal motor vehicles?).

How do I use it?

  • Have students read an article about a controversial issue.
  • The teacher develops a question from the reading based on a controversial issue that can be answered with Yes or No.
  • Using the Think-Discuss-Decide reproducible template (see image at right), write the question in the middle of the form.
  • Have students individually write down as many Yes and No reasons as they can related to the question. The Yes reasons are written on the left side of the sheet and the No reasons are written on the right side of the page.
  • Have students form small groups and discuss the various reasons so that they may explore both sides of the issue.
  • Collectively, the students agree on a conclusion and write this conclusion in the box provided on the form.
  • Groups can then share their conclusions with the rest of the class.
Think-Discuss-Decide Reproducible Template
Think-Discuss-Decide Reproducible Template



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Barton, M. L., & Jordan, D. L. (2001). Teaching reading in science: A supplement to the second edition of teaching reading in the content areas teacher's manual. Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Toronto District School Board. (2004). Instructional strategies for making connections in science (grade 9-12), (pp. 26-29), Toronto District School Board.