Hexagonal thinking is a collaborative classroom activity that gets students thinking critically, making novel connections, debating, and providing evidence to support their reasoning—by visually connecting a series of ideas written on paper or digital hexagons around a theme.


Explaining Hexagonal thinking

To explain hexagonal thinking to students, you can start by explaining the concept of a hexagon. A hexagon is a six-sided shape. You can then explain that the goal of hexagonal thinking is to connect ideas in a way that makes sense to you. You can give students a few examples of how they might connect ideas, such as by using a Venn diagram or a mind map.

hexagon shape

Once students understand the concept of hexagonal thinking, you can give them a topic to think about and have them start brainstorming ideas. You can then have them work in groups to connect the ideas and create a web of connected ideas.

Hexagonal thinking is a great way to get students to think critically and creatively. It is also a great way to get students to collaborate and communicate with each other.

hexagonal-thinking-activity-for connecting-ideas

10 Ways that students benefit from hexagonal thinking activities

  1. Encourages critical thinking: Hexagonal thinking activities require students to analyze and connect different concepts, promoting critical thinking skills.

2. Enhances problem-solving skills: Hexagonal thinking activities require students to identify relationships between concepts and find creative solutions to problems.

3. Promotes collaboration: Hexagonal thinking activities are often done in groups, which encourages collaboration and teamwork skills.

4. Develops communication skills: Hexagonal thinking activities require students to articulate their ideas clearly and effectively to their peers.

5. Enhances memory retention: Hexagonal thinking activities promote memory retention as students make connections between concepts.

6. Increases engagement: Hexagonal thinking activities are interactive and engaging, which can increase student motivation and interest in the subject matter.

7. Provides a visual aid: Hexagonal thinking activities can provide a visual representation of the relationships between concepts, making it easier for students to understand and remember them.

8. Encourages creativity: Hexagonal thinking activities require students to think creatively and outside the box to find connections between concepts.

9. Supports differentiated instruction: Hexagonal thinking activities can be adapted to different learning styles and abilities, making it an effective tool for differentiated instruction.

10. Reinforces learning: Hexagonal thinking activities allow students to reinforce their learning by reviewing and revisiting concepts multiple times.

Tips for using hexagonal thinking

•Choose a topic that is relevant to your students’ interests

•Give students time to brainstorm ideas before they start connecting them.

•Encourage students to make connections that are outside the box.

•Have students explain their connections to the class.

•Use hexagonal thinking as a way to assess student learning.


Hexagonal thinking and text marking are highlighted in this activity. After reading a short passage about animals, students use text marking strategies to improve reading comprehension skills. Facts and details about the animals are written on hexagons to build discussion skills and show understanding. Students can use arrow to indicate why certain facts were grouped together.


To learn more about text marking

to learn more about hexagonal thinking

Hexagonal thinking originated as a business and organizational strategy. Curriculum designer Betsy Potash adapted this strategy for educational purposes. To learn more about hexagonal thinking, check out these articles.



Comprehension and Connection: Understanding Informational Text combines both text marking and hexagonal thinking into a complete and thorough resource for your upper elementary and middle school students. Using engaging animal stories with real photos, your students learn to text mark, use context clues, and create hexagonal thinking charts for discussion and summarizing. Check it out here:




https://peghutson.com/understanding-executive-functioning-skills-and-the-middle-school-student/: 10 WAYS THAT REVOLUTIONARY HEXAGONAL THINKING CAN HELP STUDENTS TO LEARN