Thinking Skills Activity: Observing

Bob Valiant, 11 March 2004
Thinking Skill Emphasized: Observing for Detail

Suggestions are given for teaching/learning the skill of observing for detail.


Activity Description:

The first time this activity is done the instructor can provide a common object such as the clock on the wall and ask the students to describe it in detail. Students can create their descriptions individually on scratch paper then the instructor can do a round robin to collect details from students, one detail at a time. The details can be written on the whiteboard as they are collected. Once the description is collected the instructor should ask additional questions to get more detail and to point out areas the students might not have explored.

The instructor’s guide, “The Skills of Observing,” found elsewhere on this site provides ideas for the kinds of questions that can be asked. The activity should be repeated over a period of time using different objects, some of which have changing elements (such as a burning candle). The idea is to start simple and build to more and more complex systems


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