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Learning Activities

A variety of shorter learning activities to Explore Big Ideas.



Exploring ideas that matter is a cyclical process with three distinct phases: Learning, Pondering, and Engaging. ​You can enter the exploration process at any phase, moving ‘backward’ or ‘forward’ in the cycle. 

To ponder an idea is to think about it carefully and from multiple perspectives. When you ponder about a big idea you consider its infinite possibilities. The questions that drive pondering draw upon your ability to imagine and see alternative realities and perspectives.  Pondering questions are questions of wonder and curiosity and include questions that begin:

  • What if . . . ?
  • How about. . . ?
  • Is it connected to. . . ?
  • Is it really any different than……?
  • Why didn’t. . . ?

In the Explore Big Ideas' process of exploration, pondering can be either communal or individual.  In its communal form, pondering is most often a discussion in which ideas are exchanged in a conversation that honors the perspectives and insights of all present.  

In its individual form, pondering is self-reflection. Reflection begins by taking ideas and information learned from others and thoughtfully pondering its possibilities in one’s own mind.  Individual pondering can be done in silent reflection, through journaling, and during many solo activities.  Whether through discussion or self-reflection, pondering leads to the same thing:  greater insight and understanding of oneself, others, and the idea itself. 


People can use other solo activities for ponder time

After pondering an idea, consider learning more about the idea or engaging it by acting upon it.

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