Sunday, June 26, 2016

Depth and Complexity Explained with Game of Thrones

Kaplan's Depth and Complexity is the crux of any gifted curriculum. I've had to explain it a few times recently to some new teachers at our school. Because many people watch Game of Thrones I thought that would be a great way to explain the meaning of these concepts. I thought I'd share them with you guys in case you are looking to use it with your kiddos and are also a fan of Thrones.

Unanswered Questions-
these are questions that are for example, not explained in a story. These can be details that are missing or storylines left unexplored. Sometimes you can find answers to these questions, sometimes they are unanswerable. We can speculate answers.

What was the rumor Cersei was talking about a few episodes ago?
What makes Daenerys so determined to be successful?
Why didn't Sansa tell Jon Snow that she had talked to Little Finger about supporting their efforts with his troops?


Ethics is all about two conflicting sides-who is right/wrong? Are you pro/con?
What is right for Ramsey to refuse to fight Jon Snow one-on-one, when that's what ended up happening anyway, but with the loss of all the troops?
Is it right to kill someone, like Joffrey if he is an evil person?

Rules is a hard one for my students. When they think rules, they think about "don't run in the hallway"-that's not quite the rules we are talking about here. We are talking about for example what is always true in a situation, what is the structure/classification system?

So what are the rules of living in the 7 Kingdoms? You should always own dragons, you need to be a little bit sneaky, you can never trust anyone, etc.

Across Disciplines   

This is ways you can incorporate a subject across different subject areas. So for example, if we were to incorporate math into our Game of Thrones-how fast do the dragons fly? How many people are vying to be leader of the 7 Kingdoms. 

Over Time   
How things change over time. How have alliances changed over different circumstances? How has Arya changed throughout her experiences? Sansa?

Multiple Perspectives  
One of my favorite icons to use in Kindergarten. Comparing different ways you can see the world.
Thinking about how the dragons see their world.
How do Cersei, Tommen and Margaery all see the High Sparrow now?

Language of the Disciplines  

Thinking like a mathematician or an artist. How would people from the different disciplines see the same thing? If you were looking at the dragons-a mathematician would probably be calculating their size and wing span. An artist would be looking at shadow and light.


Patterns is exactly what it seems. Identifying patterns in something. In Game of Thrones main characters tend to get killed off. Cersei's offspring all seem to be dysfunctional leaders.

One of things I like to do with Details is changing something to see what details change. If Game of Thrones took place in the present times-what would change? If it took place in space-what details would change?

 Big Idea
I actually don't like to think too much about things I watch for entertainment's sake, but I do think there has be be some Big Ideas going on in this story. I think there could be religious themes, there are definitely themes about power structures.

What are some of the trends I've noticed from Game of Thrones-well my favorite one is you don't want to mess with the women! Cersei, Sansa, Daenerys, Arya and Maergery are all such strong, powerful women. Another one is when a Stark loses their wolf, they tend to lose their life. You could also look at the trend of how many people are watching the show. Last week they had record numbers which is not common for the 6th Season of a show.

So I hope that helped explain these concepts. Remember they are not just for gifted students. I still incorporated these ideas before I taught in a gifted classroom. They are great for inspiring deeper thinking!


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