Icons of Depth and Complexity
  • Icons of Depth and Complexity are prompts that are used for questioning within a GATE, or regular ed classroom. The different topics relate to the various questions that occur within a given activity, or lesson, and enable the students to gain deeper understanding. They were created by Dr. Sandra Kaplan at USC. Here is a short video, in which Dr. Kaplan explains these icons: 


    Icons of Depth and Complexity Explanations, and Examples:

    1) Language of the Disciplines- Prompt:Smiling lips. Nickname:Big Mouth, Key questions: What vocabulary terms are specific to the content or subject (discipline)?, Examples: Purpose, language, skills, tools, and methodology that are specific to a subject or discipline.

    2) Details- Prompt: Flower. Nickname: Sunflower. Key questions: What are the defining features or characteristics?, Examples: Parts, factors, attributes, variables, and distinguishing features.

    3) Patterns- Prompt: Dots and lines. Nickname: Connect the dots. Key questions: What elements reoccur? What is the sequesnce or order of events?, Examples: Time lines, Other chronologicallists, Predictibility, Elements that are repeated.

    4) Trends- Prompt: trend chart (goes up and down), Nickname: Cool, Popular, Current. Key questions: What ongoing factors created the influence of a phenomena?, Examples:As a course of action, to compare, contrast, and forecast.

    5) Rules- Prompt: hiearchy of norms. Nickname: Norms. Key questions: What are the rules, or guidelines for any discipline of study? Examples: lists of rules, guidelines for activity, what are the expectations?

    6) Unanswered Questions- Prompt: Question marks. Nickname: What??  Key questions: What is the meaning or answer to the following question? How can we determine the answer to that question?  Examples: Seek additional information, Look into alternative responses, and we will get back to that in the future.

    7) Ethics- Prompt: Left black right white triangles. Nickname: Right or wrong. Key questions: Is something always right or wrong? Black or white? Are there ever "shades of grey"?

    8) Big Ideas- Prompt: Columes and Building. Nickname: Main Idea. Key questions: What is the main idea of this passage, book, article, etc. How can we determine what is the authors perspective? Examples: Comprehension, Main understanding, What is the main idea of,,,?

    9) Changes Over Time: Prompt: Rotating arrows. Nickname: olde and new. Key questions: How do things change over time? Why has the process of change occured in this instance? Older is better, or not?

    10) Point of View, Multiple Perspectives: Prompt: Eyeglasses. Nickname: POV. Key questions: What does each person see of a situation? How are they different? Does everyone have a point of view? How do we acceot, and disagree with different points of view?

    11) Interdisciplinary Relationships: Prompt: circle/triangle/square. Key questions: How are things related? How are things the same? Different? Can we connect the similarities, and the differences within a problem, or issues? Are all things connected?