Activity Introduction

Quick summary: The K-W-H-L thinking tool can be used when introducing a new topic. It serves as an aid to ensure a student’s interest is catered to and helps to determine what needs to be taught. The chart is introduced at the beginning of the topic, and can only be completed once a student have finished their investigation of the topic. The chart can also be used as an assessment tool.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

This thinking tool can be integrated into a number of subject areas as the focus is on developing the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum and 21st century skills.

Resources required: Pen/pencil, KWHL chart.

Keywords: Thinking tool, K-W-H-L, learning tool, prior-knowledge, assessment.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher content information: A new topic can be introduced by sharing the 'KWHL chart' either with each student individually, or as a group using a Smartboard.

  • Prior Knowledge - Ask student to list everything they know about the topic in the 'K' column. All responses are important, even incorrect assumptions as they can be used to diagnose any misconceptions about the topic. 
  • Student Directed Learning - Students list what they want to learn in the 'W' column of the chart. This is a list of questions for which the students would like to find answers. Questions can be discussed individually or in small groups. Both open-ended and closed-ended questions can be asked.
  • Investigating Using Credible Sources - It is important that students know the best way to find credible information. In the 'H' column students make a list of possible sources where answers to the questions could be found. Guide students to sources and references that clearly have authentic information. You should ensure
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