Notice and Wonder

numeracy leaders teachers Aug 03, 2022

I'm always on the lookout for routines that are simple and effective in the classroom. Notice and Wonder is one of those. Basically, all you need is an image to project on the screen, and you ask the students “What do you notice, what do you wonder?”.

These prompts invite amazing discussions and build a great community of curious learners in your class.

Some of the responses the students come up with are priceless! 

Notice and Wonder is a short and sharp routine, that I like to use with any topic I am teaching. One of the things I found difficult about N&W was finding prompts that linked to the particular topic I was teaching.

To rectify this, I decided to create some files of images sorted according to various content areas. You can find all of the files here

The topics I have created are: Money, Mass, Length, Capacity, Multiplication, Fractions, Time, Angles

And one Notice and Wonder file specifically for Junior School students.

In total, there are over 300 images for you to use.

These are some prompts I have used in my 'Notice & Wonder' sessions. You don't need to use all of the prompts every time, it depends on how long/deep you want the session to go and the interest level of the students. Feel free to try your own!

We will use this image as an example as we move through the prompts:

What do you notice?

Encourage students to be observant. Allow them to look closely at the image. They can share anything they notice- it doesn't have to be maths related. E.g., "I notice the floor is concrete"

What do you wonder?

Encourage students to be creative.

Allow them to share any wondering that pops into their mind. Again, this doesn't have to be maths related. E.g., "I wonder how many tables are in the whole restaurant"

Can you make a connection with this photo?

Through making connections students are linking their prior experiences with new mathematical contexts. Allow students to share stories/anecdotes from their life that relate to anything in the photo. E.g., “My family have been to a café like this, but we had to move two tables together because we didn’t fit at one table”

Where can you see maths in this photo?

Encourage students to think mathematically. This prompt encourages them to get into the habit of 'seeing' maths in everyday contexts. They do not need to complete calculations, just talk about the mathematics. E.g., "You could count the number of chairs".

Here you also might like to mention the file name. E.g., "This photo was in the 'Multiplication' file, why do you think Dr Ange included it there"?

Can you create a maths problem related to this photo?

Encourage students to think of a problem to solve related to the photo (this may emerge in the "what do you wonder?" prompt also) E.g., Ned wondered how many chairs were in this photo, how could we work that out? 

You may not even ask the students to complete the actual calculations, just talking about what you could do is developing their strategy, reasoning and problem solving without the pressure of calculating. E.g., a student might say: "to find the number of chairs, you could multiply the number of tables by 4, because there are 4 chairs at each table"

So why not throw a ‘Notice and Wonder’ in your planner a few days next week- give yourself some grace-it will take you and your students a while to get the hang of the routine- but I promise it will be worth the effort! 

Want to learn more from Dr Ange Rogers? Click here to find out about her 'Quality Place Value Assessment in Years 3-6 Mini Course'

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