3 Dimensions of Understanding

Protocol: Peeling the Onion

Adapted from: __School Reform Initiative__, developed in the field by educators

"To provide a structured way to develop an appreciation for the complexity of a problem in order to avoid the inclination to start out by “solving” the problem before it has been fully defined."


1. One person(the presenter) describes the problem/dilemma. (5 minutes)

2. Group members ask clarifying questions(purely informational). (3 minutes)

3. A series of rounds begin where each participant speaks to the same prompt.
  • If meeting synchronously, you can easily follow the directions here to complete the activity live.
  • If you are developing the idea asynchronously, make a copy (File, Make Copy) of this Google Presentation, and share it so anyone with the link can edit it. Have participants go through adding their thoughts to each slide in the round.
4. When you are done be sure to debrief the process