Depth, Complexity, and Content Imperatives

The first goal is thinking more DEEPLY about something…Let the icons guide you. These icons apply to DEPTH:


Big Idea” means the purpose is to identify the main ideas.  Carefully examine what is most important.  As you think, summarize and draw conclusions.


Details” is about describing unique characteristics, traits, differences, observing, comparing and contrasting.  It also means supporting your thinking with evidence.


Across the Disciplines” is about looking at what you are reminded of from other areas. Categorize and identify concepts that connect to other areas such as math, science, social studies, and language.


Relate Over Time” means to think about the past, present, and future.  What has changed from the beginning, to the middle, to the end? What  do you know about the time period this information comes from?



Ethics” relates to values, morals, and right or wrong.  Are there pros and cons to this topic?  Is it ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or somewhere in between? Does a conflict exist?


Unanswered Questions” deals with what is lingering or still unknown.   Here you might distinguish fact from opinion, work on identifying missing information, problem solve, and notice fallacies ( things that are ‘false’ or don’t make sense).  Thinking deeply here often means that something is ambiguous and leaves  you still wondering.

The second goal is thinking more COMPLEXLY about something…Let the icons guide you. These icons apply to COMPLEXITY:


Multiple Perspectives” means considering how others see this topic. This area deals with point of view, the effect something has on someone else, or another ‘version’ of a concept or opinion. Put yourself in someone else’s place and examine the topic from their viewpoint.


Rules” is about considering the structure, order, or organization of a topic. Can you make generalizations about the way something is expected to be or can the information be classified? Are there societal norms that should be followed?


Trends” helps us examine what might be influencing a topic or how things might be changing over time. We can determine cause and effect relationships, predict what might happen based on what we know, prioritize, compare and contrast, and relate one thing to another.


Patterns” is where we look at the sequence of what has occurred. What is the same and what is different.  Can we summarize and make analogies?


Language of the Discipline” deals with terms and vocabulary that is important to the topic. It can include new and unfamiliar words, figurative language, categories, and the identification of related words.

Finally we explore CONTENT IMPERATIVES…Let the icons guide you into examining CONTENT:


 “Origins” help us look at how something got started or began. When you have to determine the source often you might discover a differing perspective.  Sometimes this might lead you to back to depth or complexity.  How did this get started or what caused it?


Convergence” is how ideas come together or meet with events that occur. Ask ‘how or where do things intersect’, ‘how did this all come together’ or ‘how are things merging’?


 “Contribution” examines how one thing contributes to another.  We can look at the effect or consequences of something.  How long something took or how something came together to cause another leads us to contributions.


Parallels” are when two things run along side but do not touch or intersect.  When we look for parallels, we look at how ideas or events are similar and how they can be compared to one another. We ask ‘how is this similar’ or ‘can we compare this to something else’?

paradox “Paradox” means how things happening at the same time (simultaneously) can present opposite, opposing, or contradictory ideas.  It is best to think about opposites when examining paradoxes.

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