Thought bombs - a fun way of introducing different sides to a story

Lisa Ashes

Lisa Jane Ashes is a self-employed teacher and author of Manglish: Bringing Maths and English Together Across the Curriculum. She is now a trustee of the charity Reach Out 2 Schools (, founded by Isabella Wallace, who are continuing to fund education-centric work in countries such as Nepal, India and South Africa. The organisation is also working on education projects within the UK, with Lisa using her knowledge of creativity within the curriculum to build better education for the most in need.

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As part of her 'Manglish' workshop at a Pedagoo 'Love Libraries' TeachMeet, AST Leader Lisa Ashes demonstrated a fun collaborative learning method called 'Thought Bombing' which teachers can use when there are multiple concepts or ideas that need to be considered. Each 'bomb' is a minituare sized hollow where slips of paper are put in describing one aspect of the subject, and is stuck to the relevant part of a picture.

Instead of forcing children to learn ideas, we like this idea because they are actively taking the 'bomb' from the picture and learning from it - which in essence is motivating them to do individual research and analysis, while collaborating at the same time.

As I am still working on the book version of my new 'Manglish' workshop, I will avoid writing about the ins and outs of it and instead share with you one simple idea for encouraging effective communication. This idea seemed to go down very well both in Edinburgh and at the recent TeachMeet English in Leeds so I thought it might be well worth sharing.

Below is a generic example of an exercise that you could base your own ideas for thought bombing on. This example could be translated into introducing characters from novels or poems (English); exploring the lives and decisions of historical figures (History); looking at cause and consequence (PHSE); Exploring bodily functions (Biology). The list goes on.

The idea is that pupils are given a small amount of information to get them hooked and then the thought bombs are thrown in to 'blow their minds'.

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