Wanting to try something different with your peeps (colleagues, students, friends or family) when needing to find ways to generate ideas or solve a problem. Using hexagonal shapes allows people to generate ideas, thoughts and solutions in different ways promoting the concept of metacognition.
Sammyjkneal has a great post that describes the idea and process behind hex thinking when used with her literature class. The images above are from her class topic of "Why do humans perpetuate social injustice upon others?" It began with a single hexagonal shape with the essential question. Students were asked to colour code their hexagonal shapes with a colour attributed to each of the six novels being read across the cohort and comment on the themes, character behaviour and conclusions that each student drew from the text
See Sammy J's blog post with all the details of the experience. She is clearly a talented and innovative teacher who has student learning at the centre of her thinking.
Tracey Clark summed it up. Her blog post provides these 10 reasons...
1. IT IS SIMPLE.Hexagonal Thinking is simple yet powerful. Students can make their thinking visible by writing ideas on a hexagon and forming connections.
2. IT ENABLES EMPATHY.As groups rearrange the hexagons in a variety of ways, they begin to see how others view the world–the very definition of empathy.
3. IT BRINGS NEW IDEAS TO LIGHT.I wasn’t convinced of this until I tried it, but the shape of the hexagon itself allows for more creative connections due to the number of sides and the way your eyes and brain search over the whole thinking map to seek connections. When you make a list or work in boxes, the linear thinking that follows can be quite effective and speedy, but for creativity–hexagons win.
4. IT STIMULATES RICH DISCUSSION.Communication skills are strengthened since the thought experiment ideally requires collaboration. Students must communicate and petition one another while they reposition ideas and ultimately come to a consensus.
5. IT MAKES BIG PROBLEMS DIGESTIBLE. The original context for hexagonal thinking as far as I can tell was actually in the corporate world. Author, Arie de Geus wrote about using the problem solving strategy in his book, The Living Company. Bite-size pieces not only help solve corporate headaches, but also give students structure and space to make sense of big concepts.
6. IT GETS STUDENTS MOVING.Discussions can get pretty lively as students reposition different hexagons to represent new connections.
7. IT GIVES EVERYONE A VOICE.Students who may not feel comfortable responding to a question in front of the whole group are able to contribute and discuss connections in smaller groups as the map unfolds. English language learners and students with exceptionalities can participate at their level of comfort too.
8. IT IS NOT RESERVED FOR A SPECIFIC CONTENT AREA OR AGE GROUP.The driving question could be related to any topic for any grade level. Just be sure to have a question or problem with enough meat to stimulate a variety of perspectives and solutions.
9. IT CAN BECOME A VISUAL SUPPORT FOR FUTURE LEARNING.Students can refer back to the thinking map either as a visual on the classroom walls, or as a digital artifact. This can help bring back mental models around the concept or inspire new connections, continuing learning on topics far beyond their scheduled coverage time.
10. IT MAKES METACOGNITION TANGIBLEThe physical act of writing down an idea and placing it into the connected thoughts of peers is powerful and supports not only individual metacognition, but also nurtures a collaborative culture of thinking.
#hexagonalthinking on Twitter will also provide more ideas and examples.
Template with colour tags to facilitate connections to ideas... yellow for creative idea, red for roadblock, green for solution.
Another example that has some simple directions...
ACTIVITY: HEXAGONAL THINKING
This image from the Visible Thinking pages of the TCEA 2015 conference gathers important elements together. Challenging students to come up with new gfx could be interesting.. or swapping in and out different language. What is missing...?
Ron Rishart put together this. Worthy of a look:
I also like this... from the website of George Courous
Hexagonal Generator from Classtools,net creates 'em in both word and HTML5. Create labels, titles as you like. Print...then hit the scissors.
hyphen31 (Don Collins) has been playing with technology since the days of the Apple+. On the web well before www. he continues to savour the richness of the webiverse in small bytes. He finally leapt from the couch and created this own domain & website forsaking all earlier incarnations...