Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Inverted Pyramid

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


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Inverted Pyramid

This strategy can be used to explore essential questions, concepts, texts, infographics, or videos. It also serves as a framework for classroom grouping and analysis discussions that can build student confidence and expand perspectives.

Inverted Pyramid


Students analyze a concept in pairs at first, then they share their ideas in small groups, and eventually they join the rest of the class in a whole-class discussion of the concept. This activity helps students to repeat their thoughts each time their group expands. The more times the students discuss the concept with new people, the more they are vetting their own thoughts. Repeatedly defending their ideas builds confidence, and they are also encouraged to learn from others and share others’ thoughts. 


  1. After students examine a concept or read a text, have students pair up.

  2. Give partners time to to analyze the text or concept together.

  3. Once partners have had enough time to discuss the concept, have pairs group with another student pair.

  4. In small groups, pairs share what they discussed with their new partners. This repetition of ideas allows students to determine what is significant and pushes them to expand their perspective.

  5. Small groups can then partner with another small group and share their thoughts in this new group (optional).

  6. After sharing in small groups (multiple times in some cases), groups come together for a whole-class discussion.