Often, in “classroom discussion,” a few highly gregarious students monopolize the discussion and drown out the voices of less aggressive or shyer students.  Frequently the gregarious students are not the most informed. The Discussion Web approach attempts to involve all students in the discussion.

Discussion Web is an adaptation of a discussion approach called think-pair-share. Using this approach, students are asked to respond to a yes-no thinking question. Then:

  • Students think individually about the question that’s up for discussion. They look in the text for information they might use to support their opinions.
  • They discuss their ideas with a partner (as a pair). The partners share supporting ideas from the text.
  • Then the partners pair up with another set of partners. They work as a group of four to eliminate contradictions and inconsistencies in their thinking as they come to a consensus and decide upon one idea that a spokesperson for the group will share with the class.

By talking with partners and pairs of partners prior to engaging in whole-class discussion, students have multiple opportunities to interact and learn from each other.

Example question: What practical use does a Coordinate Plane have in science, engineering, and other fields today?  Consider radiology, air travel, gps, video games.