Personal Knowledge

Personal Knowledge is what the student already knows about the Engineering Design topic.

Explore these strategies to support students as they recall and share their Personal Knowledge during the course of an investigation.

Round Robin
Use the “Round Robin” group brainstorming technique to elicit students’ personal knowledge or to share information about a topic. Ask students a question or give them a prompt, and have them write their response on index cards. Compile a combined list from the individual cards and record additional ideas. This brainstorming allows all students to have a voice, even those less comfortable with speaking up in class, and results in building a complete list of ideas around a topic. 

Minute Paper
Give students one to three topic words. Have them write the words on their paper and leave space to write under each word. Ask them to write the most important things they know about each topic.  Give students one to two minutes to write their information. Have them share what they wrote with a partner and then with another team.  Ask the team to share one item from each topic with the whole class.  Create a master list.

Give One, Get One
Have students number their papers 1-5. Give them the topic you are about to study and have them write down 3 things they know about the topic. After they’ve written down 3 things, they move around the classroom and ask another student for a 4th piece of information and they share one of their ideas. They find a different student and repeat the process for a 5th piece of information.

Give One Get One

Alphabet Knowledge
Have groups of students write each letter of the alphabet on a large piece of paper. Challenge them to write a word or short phrase for as many letters as possible that connects to the topic being studied. Adding the focus on a specific letter forces students to get creative and to think abstractly. 

Help students feel connected to the content with the 3-2-1 strategy. Have students share 3 things they already know about the topic, 2 things they want to know about the topic, and 1 way the topic connects to something they care about or 1 question they still have.

3-2-1 Strategy

First Word Acrostic
Students write the topic word (ex. Photosynthesis) on their paper. They use the letters of a word to incorporate their understandings about the topic. For example, for the “P” in photosynthesis, the student may write “Plants use the process of photosynthesis to make their own food.” Let them work in pairs and encourage creativity.