Hexagonal Thinking Strategy in the MYP Humanities Classroom-by Amber Rhinehart(MYP Coordinator)


As our MYP students come back to campus, it has been a joy seeing them
in person and working with them in the classroom. In our recent grade 9
Individuals and Societies class, we ended our unit on conflict by reviewing
the topics and concepts of World War I while engaging in a hexagonal
thinking activity.

What is hexagonal thinking?
Hexagonal thinking is a method for considering the connections between
ideas and finding the nuances in those connections by coming to conclusions
on why they matter.

How does hexagonal thinking work?
Students read through the hexagons that include topics and concepts from
our study of World War I. Once all clarifications of questions have been resolved,
they place hexagons where patterns are found and relationships between
terms have been established. Students can always move them around again
and arrange and rearrange as their thinking changes. It is important for them
to remember that not all hexagons need to have six connections and some
will have more connections than others. The end product is unique; no two
hexagons look alike!

How is Hexagonal Thinking related to Approaches to Learning skills?
During this activity, students engaged in listening, discussing, debating,
moving hexagons, asking questions, and making decisions as a pair or
small group.

Before we began the activity, students reflected on their own collaborative
skills, asking themselves:
Which collaborative skill am I already good at?
Which one do I think I need to focus on today?

A list of MYP AtL COLLABORATIVE SKILLS:
* Make fair and equitable decisions
* Encourage others to contribute
* Delegate and share responsibility for decision-making
* Negotiate effectively
* Exercise leadership and take on a variety of roles within groups
* Help others to succeed
* Listen actively to other perspectives and ideas

Why do students engage in this learning strategy?
At the end of the process, students chose three connections to write about.
In their short responses, they explained why these terms were placed next to
one another and they justified their choices through discussing the relationship
of what these topics and concepts have in common.