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Three’s a Crowd


Students analyze three different visuals, determine which one does not fit, and then create a connected word or visual to complete the Three’s a Crowd organizer.


  • Three’s a Crowd handout (triangle with a visual at each point)
  • Three’s a Crowd template (English/Spanish)
  • Scissors
  • Blank paper
  • Tape
  • 3D physical models, optional


  1. Provide each student with a triangle and a different visual at each of the 3 points (using the handout or a 3D model).
  2. Organize students into groups of 3.
  3. Each student describes the importance of one of the visuals. “If this visual could talk, it would tell us ________.”
  4. After each visual has been reviewed, students discuss which visual is not a “fit” with the other two and cover that visual with a sticky note (or remove the 3D visual that does not fit).
  5. Students sketch another visual in place of the misfit (or create another 3D model) to complete the triangle so that all 3 points are connected.
  6. Students write a phrase explaining how all the visuals/words are connected in the center of the triangle.
  7. Challenge Extension: Students take the discarded visual and create a new triangle with 3 connected visuals or words. They pass the triangle to another group who must write the connection statement in the center of the new Three’s a Crowd triangle.
  8. Observe the connections students are making and clarify/verify as appropriate.

Classroom Management

  • Rehearse the strategy with simple visuals (candy, soft drinks, etc.) before using it with academic content.


  • Promote access by allowing students to preview the words/visuals with a supportive peer, allowing use of notes/journals, and/or providing access to digital visuals.

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:
    • Make an inference about how these visuals could be used in an assessment question.
    • Write a paragraph explaining the connection among the visuals.
  • Encourage students to use lead4ward’s Thinking Stems (English/Spanish) to frame their responses, if needed.