Carousel Brainstorming

Carousel brainstorming is a strategy that can be used to activate learners prior knowledge, check prior knowledge, or build background around a topic that they will study.

You will need to have at least 5 different stations from which to work from.  For a large class you might consider 6 stations.  At each station is a question or statement around the topic that you will study.  Through learners discussing ideas around the topic and sharing their ideas background knowledge is built up and as a teacher you can check what prior knowledge they have. 

Having learners rotate around stations rather than just sitting on tables is more active because of the movement involved.

Here is how it works:

  1. Set a time limit of 2 – 3 minutes
  2. In small groups (maximum of 5) learners discuss and share what they know about the topic and write their ideas.
  3. When the time is up they move on to the next station.
  4. Discuss what is written and add anything they know around the topic.
  5. Continue until they return to their original question or statement.
  6. Discuss what they have learnt and they must select 3 pieces of information that they will share to the whole class.  This can be from their original question or statement or from anything else that they have read.
  7. As a follow up, you could get them to write the 3 most useful pieces of information they have found (from the whole class feedback) in their books.

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