Hexagonal Thinking in the Classroom
What is hexagonal thinking/why is it important?
Hexagonal thinking is not a new and groundbreaking idea. In fact, it has been around in business and industry for quite some time. This concept is just starting to make its way into the classroom area and has excellent application to student learning.
Hexagonal thinking is a method for identifying or considering the connections between ideas and finding the nuances within those connections.
How it works: Picture a hexagon with six sides. Your main idea would be placed inside the hexagon, and six adjacent ideas can be placed around the shape. You could even continue to build hexagons out by taking the adjoining idea and coming up with six more related concepts.
Hexagonal thinking is essential as a great springboard to discussions. If you give the same topic to a classroom of students, not everyone will choose the same six adjacent ideas. It is a great way to encourage critical thinking in discussion with other students about why particular pictures were selected and how some adjacent ideas relate while others do not.
How can I plan a lesson for hexagonal thinking?
Hexagonal thinking can be used as a base point for lessons in several subject areas. A lesson plan using hexagonal thinking could look several different ways.
- -Students can work individually or in groups
- -The activity can be done on a worksheet or with pre-prepared paper hexagons
Working in groups would be a great way to stimulate discussion, use deductive reasoning, and find supporting evidence to reach a consensus on connecting ideas.
Once a topic has been assigned, the group can begin discussing what ideas they believe connect and build out their hexagons.
If students work individually on their hexagons, it could be beneficial for them to share the work they came up with with the class or complete a written analysis on why they chose adjacent ideas and how other views may not have fit within their hexagons. For some of these post-activity discussions/analyses, encouraging students to share their least standard connections and relationships can further deepen critical analysis skills utilized during this assignment. Written examination’ can also be used for group work to help teachers arrive at an individual grade for group work.
The additional idea is to have groups complete hexagonal webs that can be displayed during a gallery walk activity. During the gallery walk, you can ask students to share what they find most surprising or exciting about other groups’ hexagonal webs.
What do my students need to be able to succeed with hexagonal thinking?
Hexagonal thinking can be essential to student success in the classroom, as it has the ability to help students further their subject matter comprehension through critical thinking. To be successful in this area, students will need to have a clear understanding of what the goals for the activity are. Students will also need to go into the activity if working in groups with the expectation that everyone will have different ideas, and that is okay. The point of hexagonal thinking is to hear other ideas and determine if they will work with the goal of the activity. The organized discussion will be critical to group work.
Hexagonal thinking can be a great critical thinking activity for students in the classroom and can work with various subject areas. Hexagonal thinking is an excellent kick-off point to stimulating conversation in the school and bringing students into critical thinking zones.