Instructional Strategy: Notice-Think-Wonder

Notice - Think - Wonder data stories emphasize the importance of informal, open-ended observation as a first step in thinking about and interpreting a graph or data. Students describe their first impression and what thoughts and questions come to mind, without getting bogged down in specific concepts or deeper analyses.

Goal: Provide open-ended questions that create a "safe space" for students to describe what they notice in their own words, followed by prompts to help them elaborate.


Example 1: Tuva Data Story Precious Pigments

Students review a brief summary about photosynthesis and plant pigments, then compare the absorption spectra of four different plant pigments. 


  • What do you notice when comparing the wavelengths of light absorbed by these four plant pigments?
  • Based on the colors added to the graph, how do you think the pigments influence the color you see when looking at a plant?
  • How could the information from this graph be used to design an ideal artificial growing environment for different kinds of food crops?


Implementation ideas: Use Notice, Think, Wonder data stories to introduce new topics, or as a hook to engage curiosity at the beginning of a unit. Keep the discussion informal so that students feel safe to venture their observations and wonderings. They can explore their ideas more deeply later in the unit. 

Related resources

Ritchart, R.; Church, M.; Morrison, K., 2011. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Example 2: Tuva Data Story Which Way Up?  

After reading brief background information, students interpret a map showing how the position of the weather balloon changes during the first 70 minutes of its flight. Then they consider other ways the data could be graphed to verify their interpretation. 




  • What can you tell from the map about the balloon’s journey? 
  • How else could you plot the data to support your response to the first question? (Submit your graph). 
  • What new question(s) does the map raise for you?


Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful