S-I-T: Surprising, Interesting, Troubling Teaching Strategy | Facing History & Ourselves
Three students sitting in a classroom with one of the students talking.
Teaching Strategy

S-I-T: Surprising, Interesting, Troubling

Use this quick way for students to demonstrate their engagement with a text, image, or video by having them identify what they find surprising, interesting, and troubling.


At a Glance

teaching-strategy copy
Teaching Strategy


English — US


  • Advisory
  • English & Language Arts
  • History
  • Social Studies




What Is the S-I-T Strategy?

An activity based on the S-I-T strategy provides a quick and straightforward way for students to demonstrate their engagement with a text, image, or video. In this activity, students identify what they find surprising, interesting, and troubling about the material. Because the activity gives students an opportunity to process and articulate a short response, it’s especially useful when students are encountering material they find shocking or an outcome that is counterintuitive. Having students complete an S-I-T activity can be an effective way to help them prepare for a class discussion in which you want everyone to have something to contribute. It can also be an effective prompt for an exit ticket at the end of a lesson about an emotionally challenging historical topic.

Save this resource for easy access later.

Save resources to create collections for your class or to review later. It's fast, easy, and free!
Have a Workspace already? Log In

Lesson Plans

How to Use the S-I-T Strategy

  1. Choose a text, image, or video that you expect students will find engaging and will want or need to discuss after reading or watching.
  2. After reading, observing, or watching this stimulus, ask each student to identify the following:
  • One Surprising fact or idea
  • One Interesting fact or idea
  • One Troubling fact or idea
  1. Give students an opportunity to share and debrief their S-I-T responses, either in pairs or as a class discussion. Or collect their responses and read them to find out how students are feeling about and understanding the material presented in class.

You might also be interested in…

Unlimited Access to Learning. More Added Every Month.

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.

The resources I’m getting from my colleagues through Facing History have been just invaluable.
— Claudia Bautista, Santa Monica, Calif