How to Implement the Connect, Extend, Challenge Teaching Strategy in Your Classroom


Utilize this method to help learners connect new ideas and information to their prior knowledge about a particular topic. The protocol described here engages learners in metacognitive reflection by asking them to find concepts and pieces of information that are in line with their prior comprehension of a topic, those that can utilize them to revise their thinking. This process helps learners both deepen their understanding of a topic and become more thoughtful and independent learners.

This method works best after learners have already been introduced to a topic and are receiving new perspectives that may challenge their initial comprehension.


  1. Select a Source of Information or Ideas: Select a reading, video clip, or another resource for a topic that learners already have some basic or working knowledge about. The source you select for this learning activity must provide new information that has the potential to challenge learners’ thinking about the topic.
  2. Read and Respond to the Source: Provide learners with copies of the source for this activity, and then give them time to read or view the source. You may have learners read the source multiple times, once together as a class and again independently. Then prompt learners to go back to the source and respond to these three questions.

Connect: How do the ideas in this reading connect to what you know about ______________?

Extend: How does this reading  broaden your thinking about ______________?

Challenge: Does this reading challenge your comprehension of ______________? What new questions arise for you?

After learners have completed their responses, you may debrief the activity with paired or whole-group discussions to reinforce both learners’ comprehension of the content and their reflections on the learning process.

Choose your Reaction!