How to Implement the S-I-T: Surprising, Interesting, Troubling Teaching Strategy in Your Classroom


A learning activity based on the S-I-T method provides a quick and straightforward way for learners to demonstrate their engagement with a piece of content, image, or video. In this learning activity, learners identify what they find surprising, exciting, and troubling about the material. Because the learning activity allows learners to process and articulate a short response, it’s especially useful when learners are encountering content they find shocking or an outcome that is counterintuitive. Having learners complete a S-I-T learning activity can be an effective way to help them prepare for a class discussion in which you want everyone to have something to contribute. It can also be a useful prompt for an exit card at the end of a learning activity about an emotionally challenging historical topic.


  1. Select a piece of content, image, or video that you expect learners will find engaging and will want or need to discuss after reading or watching.
  2. After reading, observing, or watching this stimulus, ask each learner to identify the following:
    • One surprising fact or idea
    • One interesting fact or idea
    • One troubling fact or idea
  3. Allow learners to share and debrief their S-I-T responses, either in pairs or as a class discussion. Or collect their answers and read them to find out how learners are feeling about and comprehending the material presented in class.
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