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Triad Trades


Students are organized into triads to deeply think, talk, and write about an assessment item.


  • Assessment questions (1 for each triad group)
  • Triad Trades handout
  • Triad Trades template (English/Spanish)
  • Scissors
  • Notebook paper (if not using handout)


  1. Organize students into triads.
  2. Present each triad with a different assessment question and a handout.
  3. TRIAD TASKS – Triads work together to complete all 3 sections of the handout:
    • Top: Triads write their assigned assessment question at the top.
    • Middle: Triads analyze the stimulus and answer the questions.
    • Bottom: Triads write their justification for the correct answer and summarize a mistake to avoid.
  4. Triads cut apart their paper and each student keeps 1 part.
  5. When all triads are ready, students mingle around the room trading papers 5 times.
  6. Students then mingle to find new triads to match their new paper: #1 the item, #2 the stimuli analysis, and #3 the correct answer justification/mistake to avoid.
  7. Students discuss the question and the responses with their new triad, challenging or adding new ideas to make the responses and justifications stronger.
  8. Observe students’ thinking and clarify/verify as appropriate.

Classroom Management

Role play appropriate/inappropriate ways to trade responses and how to mix-mingle to find triad matches.


Promote access by partnering with two supportive peers, allowing student to dictate responses to a scribe, using journal/notes/visual supports, and/or allowing peers to read the question aloud.

Think It Up!

  • Have students think more deeply about the concept by responding to a Think It Up prompt as an exit ticket or journal entry:
    • Sequence all the questions in the order of the ones you understand most to those that are most challenging.
    • Develop a plan for better understanding the 3 questions at the end of the sequence.
  • Encourage students to use lead4ward’s Thinking Stems (English/Spanish) to frame their responses, if needed.