How to Engage Your Students With “I think, I wonder”

Although the i5E model is typically used to teach science, the “I notice, I wonder” exercise can be incorporated into any subject to start an activity or to weave throughout an activity as a way to engage students and scaffold their interactions between the text and with each other. This technique works very effectively with TPS (think-pair-share). See the video for an example in action, and read on for how we suggest using it.

“I notice…”

For example, after students have read a passage of text, ask students, “What do you notice about what you’ve read?” Depending on what it is you want students to focus on, they may notice things about the content in the passage itself, the way it is written, how it was written, etc. Have them write their responses on the right side of a T-chart (we have one in the links below that you can download). This exercise is a fantastic way to gain insight into students’ prior knowledge and what sorts of details they are paying attention to based on their responses. In fact, oftentimes, students will notice amazing details that I’ve overlooked!


Build onto this step by having them pair and share their insights with a partner. Between both students, ask them to pick two things that they want to share out to the class (I always have them pick 2-3 things, in case other pairs have similar things on their lists). Every group then shares one thing — or, if everything has been shared, they can pass.

“I wonder…”

Afterward, have students fill “I wonder” on the right side of the T-chart with their thoughts, questions, and hypotheses. This exercise is a great way to incorporate the NGSS science and engineering practice of asking questions and defining problems. Another TPS at this point helps students determine if there are any commonalities and patterns between student responses (while touching on the NGSS crosscutting concept of determining patterns).

You can get a free PDF of our lined T-Chart below:

[et_bloom_locked optin_id=”optin_4″]


Please check out our other blog posts for a more in depth look at each of the 5Es:

i5E Overview – How To Use the i5Es In Your Classroom

Engage – How To Use Engage In Your Classroom

Explore – How To Use Explore In Your Classroom

Explain – How To Use Explain In Your Classroom

Evaluate – How to Use Evaluate In Your Classroom

Elaborate – How To Use Elaborate In Your Classroom 

How To Engage Your Students With “I think, I wonder”


1 thought on “How to Engage Your Students With “I think, I wonder””

  1. Pingback: Elaborate - How To Use Elaborate In Your Classroom - STEAM Café

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