Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

KWHL Graphic Organizer

K20 Center | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


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KWHL Graphic Organizer

Through the use of this graphic organizer, students identify gaps in their prior knowledge on a topic then identify and engage in what they think is the best way to fill in those gaps on their own.

KWHL Graphic Organizer


This organizational strategy is particularly useful in teaching students how to organize their thoughts to thoroughly research a topic, but it can be used in many other ways within the context of a lesson. The KWHL graphic organizer consists of four columns in which students list what they Know about a topic, what they Want to know, How they will find that information, and what they Learned in the lesson. A variation of is a KWL chart (standing for the columns Know, Wonder or Want to know, and Learn).


  1. Students create the KWHL chart by drawing three vertical lines, splitting their paper into four columns. Headers for these columns are: what I Know, what I Want to know, How I will find the information, and what I Learned. This chart could also be printed in advance as a handout.

  2. Briefly introduce students to the topic or concept to be studied in the lesson.

  3. Students then fill out the first three columns on their page, following the prompts in the header of each column.

  4. Students follow what they wrote in the How (third) column to research the information they listed in the Want (second) column.

  5. After their research is complete, students summarize their findings in the final column, the Learned column.