Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Mirror, Microscope, Binoculars

Sherry Franklin | Published: May 4th, 2023 by K20 Center


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Mirror, Microscope, Binoculars

This reflection strategy is a way for students to look at their learning through three different lenses: self-reflection, learning reflection, and social/global reflection. This strategy is best used at the end of a unit or activity.

Mirror, Microscope, Binoculars


Three prompts are provided to students to guide reflection on their learning. As mirrors show oneself, students will reflect on how their learning impacts them. Microscopes make details more apparent, so students will reflect on the learning content or activity. Binoculars help one see further, so this is asking students to look beyond themselves and reflect on social and global issues. The prompts can be discussed verbally or in writing.


Once you have completed a unit of study or a lesson, choose a topic or activity for students to reflect on, such as the theme from a novel or the results of a science investigation.

  1. Provide students with three prompts, one for each of the three lenses.

    • Mirror: (internal reflection)

      1. What have I learned about myself?

      2. How has this experience changed my thinking?

    • Microscope: (close inspection)

      1. Now I can see that…

      2. What required closer inspection?

      3. How can this be applied?

    • Binoculars: (global reflection)

      1. How is this impacted by what is going on in the world?

      2. What could be done to alter or change…?

  2. Allow students time and space to work independently as they write their answers to each prompt.

Cooper, M. (1997). Reflection: Getting learning out of serving. Florida International University. Retrieved April 19, 2023, from