A Project Zero "Global Thinking" routine to discern the significance of a topic in global, local, and personal contexts. This routine encourages students to uncover the significance of a topic in multiple contexts, make local-global connections, and situate themselves in local and global spheres. Asks the questions: "Why might this [topic, question] matter to me?", "Why might it matter to people around me [family, friends, city, nation]?”, and "Why might it matter to the world?"
A routine to discern the significance of a topic in global, local, and personal contexts
1. Why might this [topic, question] matter to me?
2. Why might it matter to people around me [family, friends, city, nation]?
3. Why might it matter to the world?
Purpose: What kind of thinking does this routine encourage?
This routine encourages students to develop intrinsic motivation to investigate a topic by uncovering the significance of the topic in multiple contexts. The routine also helps students make local-global connections and situate themselves in a local and global spheres.
Application: When and where can it be used?
The routine can be applied to a broad range of topics (from social inequality, to a mathematician’s biography, balance in ecosystems, writing a story, to attending school) and questions. You may use a rich image, text, quote, video, or other materials to ground students' thinking. You may find this routine useful early in a unit after the initial introduction of a topic, when you want students to consider carefully why it might be worth investigating further. Teachers have also used this routine to expand on a given topic to help students become aware of how it has far-ranging impact and consequences at the local and global levels. In other cases (i.e., studying poverty in Brazil), the routine is used to create a personal connection to a topic that seems initially remote.
Launch: What are some tips for starting and using this routine?
Ensure that the students have clarity about the focal point of the analysis. For example, you might ask “Why might understanding social inequality matter to me, my people, the world?” as opposed to “Why might this image matter?” Use the questions in the order proposed or in reverse order beginning with the most accessible entry point. For instance, students might unfold the purpose and significance of a story they are writing by first reflecting about why the story matters to them, and then moving out to the world from there. In other cases, a teacher may seek to construct a more personal connection to a distant event (e.g., the Holocaust), thus beginning with the world, then working inward. It is recommended that students work on one step at a time as nuances and distinctions between the personal, local, and global may be lost if they work with the three questions in mind at once. If time allows, compare and group students’ thoughts to find shared motivations and rationales for learning the topic under study.
Use Rights Links: Global Thinking by Project Zero is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Educational Use: Guided questions, Inquiry, Visual/Spatial, Discussion/Debate
Learning Resource Type: None
Educational Role: teacher
Time required: 1 hr
Interactivity Type: Active
Accessibility Feature: none
Accessibility Hazard: noFlashingHazard, noMotionSimulationHazard, noSoundHazard
Accessibility Control: None
Publisher: Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access