S-I-T: Surprising, Interesting, Troubling


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 card at the end of a lesson about an emotionally challenging historical topic.


  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
  3. 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.

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