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TRUNKS AND ROOTS

Method of group work (suitable especially for the evocation stage of the learning process;
in some cases it is possible to use it also for summarizing student knowledge and their
experience in the third stage of the learning process – stage of reflection).
Procedure
The whole class is divided into “home” groups. It is necessary that each group has at least 3 members, but
the optimal number is 5 or 6 (this is an activity that can employ more members within one group).

Each group selects one member as a trunk. The remaining members of the group are roots. It is
not necessary that the “trunk” student is the one who usually plays the role of a leader.
Each group receives one question – the questions should be different for each group;
thus there should be the same number of questions as there are groups.
The questions should be connected together – they should map the topic
that you as a teacher would like the students to work on.
For example, if you want to work on the hippopotamus, you can ask these questions:
a)  Why do you think hippos are important?
b) What you know or think you know about how hippos reproduce?
c)  What you know or think you know about hippos’ behavior?
The groups receive a short amount of time to read the question. Each member of the group should be sure
they understand the question. The question is then kept on the place where the group trunk is sitting.
(In the more difficult variation the students are not allowed to use a paper to write down
the question. They should use their own words to formulate the question.)
After a brief discussion within the “home group”, the roots leave their places and start to walk around the room.
Their task is to ask everybody in the room – one by one – the question given to their group. Again, they are not allowed to make notes on the paper and they must bring each answer to their trunk. The trunk is sitting with a sheet of paper (a big sheet) and makes notes according to the ideas brought by the group members playing the role of roots.
To ask everybody means that a root asks their question as many times as there are people
in the room. Participants will be asked the same question several times! Nobody is
allowed to refuse to answer! They must answer the same question repeatedly!
Thanks to this rule people go deeper into their thinking about the topic –
answering repeatedly forces them to think more about the topic

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