Think-Pair- Share

What is it?

An instructional strategy where:

  • The instructor poses a question to the class;
  • Students take time to think about the answer or solution to the question on their own (for about 2 minutes);
  • Students pair up to discuss their answers and select the best answer to share with the class (2-5 minutes);
  • Pairs then share their best answer with the entire class. Answers can be written down so that students can once again evaluate and select the best answer.

Best Practices

  • Questions need to be open ended. Having a simple recall question or yes or no question will not engage the students in all of the cognitive processes (Think-Pair-Share, 2015).
  • Allow for enough thinking time for the students to review and share their answers with their partners and select the best answer between them or generate a new answer based on their collaborative problem solving. (Think, Pair, Share Cooperative Learning Strategy, n.d.).
  • Groups for the pair need to be small enough so that all the students can share their ideas with in the time allotted. Smaller groups (maximum 4) lead to increased student accountability – everyone has to participate. (Think-Pair-Share, 2015), (Think, Pair, Share Cooperative Learning Strategy, n.d.).

Role of the Instructor

  • Pose question.
  • Direct students when they need to move from think to pair to share.
  • Listen to the students are they discuss their answers with each other but do not interfere.
  • Write down answers on the board during the class share so students can evaluate for the best answer to the problem (Think, Pair, Share Cooperative Learning Strategy, n.d.).

Role of the Learner

  •  Students take an active part in their learning by explaining their thought processes and by listening and learning with their peers.

Pros of using Think- Pair-Share

  • It doesn’t require much prep work or time (Think-Pair-Share, 2015).
  • It engages the entire class in discussions (Think-Pair-Share, 2015).
  • Increases student motivation as there is personal interaction and peer learning (Think-Pair-Share, 2015).
  • Students are sharing ideas, evaluating them , selecting the best idea or answer or developing new ones. They are engaging in collaborative learning which has been shown to increase learning (David-Lang, J., 2013).
  • Trying out answers in a small group will also help students become more comfortable sharing their ideas (Think, Pair, Share Cooperative Learning Strategy, n.d.).

Cons of using Think-Pair-Share

  • Students need to be motivated to participate (Think-Pair-Share, 2015)

Ideas to motivate students when using Think-Pair-Share

  •  Pose interesting questions, use pictures, news articles, cartoons or quotes (Engagement Triggers and Tasks for Interactive Segments, 2011).
  • Integrate questions that have been generated by the students themselves.
  • Inform the students that some of the Think-Pair-Share questions will be on upcoming exams (Think-Pair-Share, 2015).

There are worksheets here and here available on line that can be used to help the students keep track of their ideas.

Below is my digital project about Think-Pair-Share. I hope you enjoy it.



David-Lang, J. (2013) The Main Idea current education book summaries: Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning, Hattie, J., 2012 retrieved from:

Coffey, H., (n.d.) Bloom’s Taxonomy Learning NC K-12 TEACHING AND LEARNING FROM THE UNC SCHOOL OF EDUCATION Retrieved from:

Engagement Triggers and Tasks for Interactive Segments (2011) Starting Point Teaching Entry Level Geoscience Carleton University Retrieved from

Shen, D., (n.d.) Pair and Share ablconnect Retrieved from:

Think – Pair- Share (2015) Starting Point Teaching Entry Level Geoscience Carleton University Retrieved from:

Think, Pair, Share Cooperative Learning Strategy (n.d.) Teacher Vision Retrieved from


One thought on “Think-Pair- Share

  1. Pingback: A Field Guide to Taking Risk in the Classroom – teachingadventuressite

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