Reflection: Thingking Dice

Brief description

This exercise is based on six thinking dice designed to match Bloom’s revised taxonomy. Each of these dice presents a level of knowledge through unfinished question structures:

  • Remember
  • Understand
  • Apply
  • Analyse
  • Analyse
  • Evaluate 
  • Create

The exercise has two parts, involving asking and answering questions about a text the students are working on – either their own text, or someone else’s. Asking and answering questions teaches the students to understand the difference between various levels of thinking, as well as learning to develop a strategy for how to reflect on these levels.

Motivation for the exercise and required outcome

The exercise takes the students’ reflections to a meta-level because it deals with different ways of understanding thinking. In other words, the exercise promotes High Order Thinking leading to Deep UnderstandinG – which is why it is popularly known as the HOT-DUG exercise.

If you don’t have a set of thinking dice, you can use ordinary dice or an online Dice Roller. The six sides of the dice represent the six levels (described above). The students are given the handout referred to below, which helps them to draw up their questions.

Performing the exercise

The exercise can be done in different ways, depending on whether the students are working on their own texts or whether the entire class is working on the same text. The sky is the limit for this exercise.

  • Discussion in pairs: One way to do the exercise is to ask the students to work on the same text in pairs. They roll the dice five times (for instance) and ask questions depending on the level shown by the dice.  After creating five questions, the students swap questions. They then answer their partner’s questions, and finally they discuss the types of questions and answers they have been working on. Which questions were difficult/easy to ask? How did we understand each other’s questions? Were there any levels we did not use?

Variation options:

  • Individual practice: The students can individually practise asking questions about the text they are going to write. Rolling the dice inspires the students to consider questions at the different levels of knowledge, and they practise how to recognise which parts of their own texts involve remembering, which parts involve analysis etc.
  • Classroom preparation: Teachers can prepare by formulating questions for a text which the students are going to work on. The activity of drawing up relevant questions is beneficial in relation to understanding the text. It can also be a useful activity for the students. Divide the class into six groups and assign a level of knowledge to each group (you can either refrain from using the dice, or let the dice decide which level to give each group). Each group draws up 3-5 questions for their level, resulting in a total of about 24 questions about the text. The students can either answer these at home or in class. Afterwards you and the students can discuss the two parts of the exercise: asking and answering questions. 

Useful tips:

Useful tips

  • How should the groups be divided?
  • How much time do you want to spend on the exercise?