Critical Response Protocol

Grade Level: K - 12 Age Range: 5 - 18 Lesson Length: 1 class
Cover image for April 2016 issue of Science Teacher

Need a way to introduce a unit? Want to get your students thinking deeply without even knowing they are doing so? Find a summative or provocative visual, diagram, graph or model and use the Critical Response Protocol!

Get the class to answer these five simple questions in round robin fashion and off you go. You’ll be surprised. Not quite magic, but the wisdom in the group is always greater than that of the individual.

  • What do you see?
  • What does it remind you of?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • What questions do you have?
  • Speculate on what you think it means.

Critical Response Protocol is an approach to teaching that originated in art and dance. In CRP, students are encouraged to think about the subject in a new way - making observations, asking questions, and sharing insights with their classmates. According to Char Ellingson, "[CRP] really helps students generate language that is meaningful to them around the scientific topic of study."

For more information read the article in Science Teacher magazine (small fee for non-members). An abstract of the article can be found at questia.com.

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