How To Use Scaffolding For Deeper Understanding


Nope, not the kind that gets put up outside buildings that are being renovated. The kind where your students can dig deeper into their understanding of a particular topic. The kind where they can begin to uncover previously unrealized connections in subject material. The kind that makes them better problem solvers and learners. But how can you get your students to think as problem solvers? You can break down the learning process for them – scaffolding. If the students can begin to understand (even subconsciously) where their information is coming from and how to attain that information, they’ll become more efficient learners and excellent problem solvers.

Mia MacMeekin has created this great infographic on scaffolding for deeper understanding in your classroom. It is broken down into nine simple steps, using ants as an example. Keep reading to learn more.

Scaffolding For Deeper Understanding

1. Ask a question

Example: what do you know about ants?

2. Present a mystery for students to solve

Example: How does an ant carry fifty times its body weight? Can you?

3. Ask students to draw what they know

Example: Can you draw how you think ants carry things? How do you carry things?

4. Give students ample time to research the mystery

Example: Can you find the answer and bring it back to class?

5. Ask students to draw the mystery and the solution again

Example: Can you draw that for me?

6. Ask students to share with other students

Example: Can you explain your drawing to each other?

7. Ask students to pull all their ideas together into one drawing

Example: Can you use all of your ideas together to solve the mystery?

8. Teacher patiently asks ‘what if’ questions

Example: What if I have an apple on my desk? How will the ant carry it? Do you carry it differently? Why?

9. If students need more information, send them back to step 4, and start over until the objective or outcome is reached. 

Example: What does the internet say?