The Big What?
Introducing the concept of the Big6 to
middle school students
Call it a problem solving method that they can use
to solve any problem, personal or academic
Use practice problems that they can relate
to—personal and academic
Use a guided practice sheet—use the same one for
the actual project
We adapted one from the Definitive Big6 Workshop
Break it down step by step
Steps 1, 2, 3 are the PLANNING stage (you can
actually work through these steps in practice)
Steps 4, 5 are the DOING stage (explain that you
can’t actually do these in practice sessions, so just
talk it through)
Step 6 is the EVALUATING stage (explain that you
can’t actually do it in practice, just talk it through)
Be sure you practice 2-3 times with the students
before the project begins.
The more you practice, the more they will become
use to the Big6 vocabulary and the more they will
understand why you need to work through all the
steps each time.
Sample Problem to use for Practice
Convince your friends to go to the movie of
your choice Friday night.
What do I need to do?
1.1 Define the information problem
Choose a movie
Convince your friends to go to that movie with you on
1.2 What information do I need to complete this
Movies showing and their show times
How we’ll get to the theater and back
Information Seeking Strategies
What can I use to find what I need?
2.1 Brainstorm the possible sources
Internet (theater website, Yahoo movies, etc.)
2.2 Which of these sources are the best
Discuss this with the students and come up with a
ranking based on the type of information you can get
from each source, the ease of getting ahold of the source
and finding the information within the source
Location & Access
Where can I find what I need?
3.1 Where are these sources located?
Discuss where you can find each of these sources. Make
sure you cover places like the school library, public
library, possible their own home, etc.
3.2 Where is the information found within these
Discuss this with the students, making sure to cover all
bases within each source
Newspaper—Movie theater advertisement
Internet—Movie theater website, Yahoo Movies, etc.
Movie hotline—dial the number and listen!
Use of Information
What information can I use from these
4.1 How can I best use each source?
For this step you must remember to explain to the students
that you can’t really do this for practice, but you will
simply talk about what you WOULD do.
Cut out ads in the paper
Print showtimes from the Internet, etc.
4.2 What information in each source is useful?
Talk about what information is useful to them
Showtimes, ratings, prices, where the theater is located, who will
drive them to the show, etc.
How can I put all this information together?
5.1 How can I organize all this information
Discuss different organizational strategies
Notebooks, charts, etc.
5.2 How can I present this information
Discuss the BEST way to present this info to
their friends in order to accomplish the task
(always refer back to your task definition!)
Talk to them, make a chart, make posters, etc.
How will I know if I did the job well?
6.1 Judge the
Again, explain that you can’t really do this until you are really doing
the real thing, but you can talk through it
Is the task completed? Well, are you at the movies? Did you consult all
of the sources?
How well is it completed? Well, are you at the movie YOU chose?
6.2 Judge the process
Set up the situation that they are NOT at the movie of their
choice…ask what they could do better?
Make a more convincing argument
Make sure all bases are covered…if one of your friends can’t go to an R
rated movie, then why choose it? Etc.
Ideas for other sample problems
Convince your parents to let you get a cell phone
Your family is going on vacation over Spring Break. Convince
them to go somewhere YOU want to go.
Your science teacher has told you that you have to do a report
about a famous scientist. You may present your information in
You have to make a PowerPoint presentation about the book
you read for Language Arts class.
You have to make a video about an event in history for Social
Use your imagination, use real assignments from your school,
use ideas from the students themselves!