Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Expert Stay and Stray

Laura Young, Michell Eike, Samaya Williams | Published: November 21st, 2022 by K20 Center


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Expert Stay and Stray

This collaborative learning strategy keeps students engaged as they listen and learn, take turns being the expert, and rotate through stations.

Expert Stay and Stray


Students work in groups to create a product for their given task. While they work, emphasize that they need to make sure everyone in their group understands the topic and can explain it to someone else as the expert. Students become experts by asking clarifying questions, restating main ideas, checking their understanding, etc. One student stays as the expert to present while learners stray to a new station to listen and become the new expert. Consider how many times students rotate stations: rotate as many times as time allows; rotate until every student has had a chance to present; or rotate until students visit all stations.


  1. Provide an open-ended task to groups of 3-5 students.

  2. Have each group create a product for their assigned task. This might be a poster, forming an opinion to defend, etc.

  3. Within each group, assign students a number.

  4. Select and announce a number. The students with that number are now the experts on their assigned topics.

  5. The expert stays while everyone else strays (moves) to the next station.

  6. The expert presents information about their topic to the new group members. Learners listen carefully, asking clarifying questions, restating main ideas, and getting ready to be the next expert. 

  7. Select and announce a new number. The person with that number is now the expert on what they just learned.

  8. Repeat steps 5-7 as many times as necessary. 

If the groups use a physical product like a poster, have the new experts add important information to the poster as they answer clarifying questions. (Consider using a different color marker or sticky notes for these additions.)

PearsonSIOPModel. (2016, August 30). SIOP Activity: Expert Stay and Stray with De. JanaEchevarria. [Video]. YouTube.