To celebrate the launch of our new and exciting space for interaction with our student art collection, we’re encouraging people to use Project Zero’s See, Think, Wonder thinking routine to explore the current Annual Student Art Exhibition galleries. Find your favourite work and see how using the thinking routine, outlined below, changes your perception of the work.
See, Think, Wonder
A routine for exploring works of art and other interesting things
Choose an artwork and then ask yourself:
- What do you see?
- What do you think about that?
- What does it make you wonder?
What kind of thinking does this routine encourage?
This routine encourages students to make careful observations and thoughtful interpretations. It helps stimulate curiosity and sets the stage for inquiry.
When and where can I use it?
Use this routine when you want students to think carefully about why something looks the way it does or is the way it is. Use the routine at the beginning of a new unit to motivate student interest or try it with an object that connects to a topic during the unit of study. Consider using the routine with an interesting object near the end of a unit to encourage students to further apply their knowledge and ideas.
What are some tips for starting and using this routine?
Ask students to make an observations about an object—it could be an artwork, image, artifact, or topic – and follow up with what they think might be going on or what they think this observations might be. Encourage students to back up their interpretation with reasons. Ask students to think about what this makes them wonder about the object or topic.
The routine works best when a student responds by using the three stems together at the same time, i.e. ‘I see…, I think…, I wonder…‘ However, you may find that students begin using one stem at a time, and that you need to scaffold each response with a follow-up question for the next stem. The routine works well in a group discussion but in some cases you may want to ask students to try the routine individually on paper or in their heads before sharing out as a class. Student responses to the routine can be written down and recorded so that a class chart of observations, interpretations, and wonderings are listed for all to see and return to during the course of study.
See: I can see three pieces of fruit that look like they are surrounded by some scrunched up clear plastic. The fruit looks like it is not real, but made of paper. Each piece of fruit is a different colour, it looks like two apples and one pear; The apples are red or red-orange in colour and the pear is green. Each piece of fruit has a dark brown stem at the top. The fruit looks like it is on a grey bench or table.
Think: I think the fruit has been modelled by hand. I also think that the artist has chosen three of the most common fruits so we already have a clear expectation of what they should look like. I think the fruit has been made from paper, as it looks a bit crushed. I think the artist wants us to be aware that it is fake fruit and this is why the plastic wrapping is in the artwork.
Wonder: I wonder if the artist is directing our attention to the issue of genetically modified foods. I am wondering about the use of artificial ingredients in the manufacturing process of some of our foods, and the issues of food packaging being environmentally challenging. I also wonder about how fragile the natural world is and also the idea of food insecurity, which may affect our future supplies. I am wondering if the presence of the clear plastic in this artwork, which seems to be overcoming the fruit, is a further reminder that we need to look after the natural environments of our planet.
Preservation by Im Sila-On, Year 12, Geelong Grammar School
This thinking routine was developed as part of the Visible Thinking project at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
© 2019 President and Fellows of Harvard College and Project Zero. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND). This license allows users to share this work with others, but it cannot be used commercially. To reference this work, please use the following: The See, Think, Wonder thinking routine was developed by Project Zero, a research center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Interested in seeing what the students themselves have to say about their work? Watch this video, and then maybe use the See, Think, Wonder thinking routine to explore the artwork on your own. How is your interpretation of the work different from the student artist’s intention?