Education Services / L’équipe des services d’éducation
20 January 2012

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What is Think-Discuss-Decide?

This is a collaborative oral learning strategy that allows students to present and share their own ideas about a subject through a combination of individual thinking time and small group discussion using a graphic organizer.

Why use it?

  • To engage all students in intelligent discourse and discussion about topic
  • To explore issues of scientific concern or controversy
  • To help students gather information (facts, statistics, examples, expert authority) and apply thinking skills (logic and reasoning) to support a collaborative conclusion to a question about an issue of concern or controversy

How do I use it?

  • Have students read an article about a controversial issue.
  • The teacher develops a question from the reading based on a controversial issue that can be answered with Yes or No.
  • Using the Think-Discuss-Decide Template (see image at right), write the question in the middle of the form.
  • Have students individually write down as many Yes and No reasons as they can related to the question. The Yes reasons are written on the left side of the sheet and the No reasons are written on the right side of the page.
  • Have students form small groups and discuss the various reasons so that they may explore both sides of the issue.
  • Collectively, the students agree on a conclusion and write this conclusion in the box provided on the form.
  • Groups can then share their conclusions with the rest of the class.

Tips for success

  • Pick an article that presents ideas or issues which may be controversial to the reader.
  • Write questions that can be answered with a Yes or No response (e.g., Should cod fishing be reinstated in the Maritimes?, Does Canada’s north need environmental protection?, Do cities need to restrict the use of personal motor vehicles?).


Barton, M. L., & Jordan, D. L. (2001). Teaching reading in science: A supplement to the Second Edition of Teaching Reading in the Content Areas Teacher's Manual. Aurora, CO: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Toronto District School Board. (2004). Instructional Strategies for Making Connections in Science (Grade 9-12). Toronto, ON: Toronto District School Board, 26-29.

Create-Your-Own Think-Discuss-Decide

  • Think-Discuss-Decide Template [.doc] [.pdf]

Starting Points Using Think-Discuss-Decide

Completed Think-Discuss-Decide Samples

  • Think-Discuss-Decide: Beyond the Backlash - The Facts About Biofuels [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: Getting Ink - The Science of Tattoos [.pdf]

Ready-to-Use Think-Discuss-Decides

  • Think-Discuss-Decide: Agricultural Biotechnology [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: Brand Name vs. Generic Drugs [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: Electronic cigarettes: Healthy alternative or smoke and mirrors? [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: The Fastest Man on No Legs [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: Fighting the Flu [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: Getting Ink - The Science of Tattoos [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: High Tech Helmets Take on Concussions [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: Personalized medicine: Drugs that fit your genes [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: Polystyrene – A Great Packaging Material...almost too great? [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: Sleep Much? [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: Strange Bedfellows: Science as Art [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: What are carbon offsets? [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: Why cold is good for you [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: Henrietta Lacks: The most important person in the history of medical research [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Think-Discuss-Decide: The Bling of Hip Hop Jewellery [.doc] [.pdf]

Education Services / L’équipe des services d’éducation

This content is provided through Let's Talk Science's Education Services team.

Ce contenu est fourni par l'équipe des services d'éducation de Parlons sciences.

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