Connect, Extend, Challenge (UK) Teaching Strategy | Facing History & Ourselves
Facing History & Ourselves
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Teaching Strategy

Connect, Extend, Challenge (UK)

Deepen students' understanding of a topic by having them connect to their prior knowledge.


English — UK
Also available in:
English — US



This resource is intended for educators in the United Kingdom.


Teaching Strategies

Designed to support History, Citizenship, PSHE, RS and English, this resource offers a variety of classroom strategies to develop critical thinking and communication skills, model democracy in the classroom, and empower students to become active, responsible citizens.

About This Teaching Strategy

Use this strategy to help students connect new ideas and information to their prior knowledge about a particular topic. The protocol described here asks students to identify ideas and pieces of information that are consistent with their prior understanding of a topic, those that cause them to revise their thinking, and those that are confusing.

This process helps students both deepen their understanding of a topic and become more thoughtful and independent learners. This strategy works best after students have already been introduced to an idea or topic and are receiving new information or perspectives that might challenge their initial understanding.

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Steps for Implementation

Choose a reading, video clip, or other resource about a topic that students already have some basic or working knowledge about. The topic could be one you have previously introduced in class, or it could be one with which students are generally familiar from beyond the classroom. Regardless, the source you select for this activity should provide new information or perspectives that have the potential to complicate students’ thinking about the topic.

Provide students with copies of the source for this activity, and then give them time to read or view the source. You might ask students to read the source multiple times, once together as a class and again independently. Then, prompt students to go back to the source one more time and respond to the following three questions. You can also distribute the accompanying handout, and have students write their answers to the questions there.

Connect: How do the ideas and information in this reading connect to what you already know about ______________?

Extend: How does this reading extend or broaden your thinking about ______________?

Challenge: Does this reading challenge or complicate your understanding of ______________? What new questions does it raise for you? After students have completed their responses, you could debrief the activity with paired or wholegroup discussions to reinforce both the students’ understanding of the content and their reflections on the learning process.

Materials and Downloads

Quick Downloads

The handouts below are used in this Teaching Strategy.

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Facing History & Ourselves is designed for educators who want to help students explore identity, think critically, grow emotionally, act ethically, and participate in civic life. It’s hard work, so we’ve developed some go-to professional learning opportunities to help you along the way.

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