See, Think, Wonder Teaching Strategy | Facing History & Ourselves
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Teaching Strategy

See, Think, Wonder

Guide students’ analysis of a photograph, artwork, or video with this simple critical-viewing strategy.


  • English & Language Arts
  • History
  • Social Studies




English — US



What Is the See, Think, Wonder Strategy?

Use this simple critical-viewing strategy to guide students’ analysis of any visual media. By prompting students to slow down their thinking and simply observe before drawing conclusions and asking questions, you can help them engage more deeply with and analyze more thoughtfully the media they are viewing. For a more detailed critical-viewing approach, see the Analyzing Images teaching strategy. 1

  • 1See, Think, Wonder is adapted from a thinking routine developed by educators at Harvard University’s Project Zero.

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Lesson Plans

How to Use the See, Think, Wonder Strategy

Choose a piece of art, photograph, political cartoon, propaganda poster, video clip, or other piece of visual media that lends itself to deep analysis by students. This strategy works best when the image either reveals information about a particular time and place in history or reflects (intentionally or not) a particular perspective.

Display the image or pass out copies to students, and then pose the following three questions in order. Pause after each question to give students time to reflect.

  • What do you see? What details stand out? (At this stage, elicit observations, not interpretations.)
  • What do you think is going on? What makes you say that?
  • What does this make you wonder? What broader questions does this image raise for you?

After posing each question, you might ask students to simply respond in their journals, or you might use the Think, Pair, Share strategy to provide the opportunity for brief paired and whole-class discussions.

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