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Kata = a way of practicing a skill.

Kata in the Classroom (KiC) is a simple overlay that helps educators turn almost any activity or assignment into effective practice of scientific thinking. Repeatedly utilizing KiC helps students develop scientific thinking as a practical life skill and mindset.

The value of classroom activities depends on what thinking patterns students are practicing when they engage in them. When we try to teach *how science works*
we tend to present the scientific method as a prepackaged recipe, or explain scientific facts. Neither shows students 
how to incorporate scientific thinking in their daily lives.
We should be creating everyday scientific thinkers!

A Definition of Scientific Thinking

It's a great way to approach goals & problems:

1.   ACKNOWLEDGING that our comprehension is always incomplete and

      possibly wrong.

2.   ASSUMING that answers will be found by test rather than just

      deliberation. (You make predictions and test them with experiments.)

3.   APPRECIATING that differences between a prediction and what

      actually happens can be a useful source of learning and adjustment.

Here's a solution. Many activities & assignments can also become practice of scientific thinking, when you add the four-step Improvement Kata pattern to them. It's a practical scientific way of working that comes from research on adaptive organizations. Practicing it helps your students develop the following life skills:

  • Scientific/Creative Thinking. Generate & refine solutions to obstacles through experimentation.

  • Collaboration. Work in a team to accomplish a next goal on the way to a larger challenge.

  • Communication. Organize thoughts, data and findings, and share them effectively.

You can read a KiC concept overview here.

This website gives you free materials & instructions for introducing the Improvement Kata pattern to your classroom and adding it to nearly any activity. All it takes to get started is running the 50-minute puzzle exercise (KiC-1) provided in this website, to familiarize yourself with the pattern. 

NO NEW CONTENT IS NEEDED. After you run the puzzle exercise (KiC-1) to introduce
the Improvement Kata, you can start adding the 4-step pattern to assignments or
activities as a framework for working. Everything you need to do that is on the
"OVERLAY" page. Visit the "Examples" page to see how other educators have added
the IK pattern to various activities.

Educators in all subjects and grades use the Improvement Kata to integrate deliberate practice of scientific-thinking skill in a variety of assignments & projects.

Start by watching this 2-minute video:
Click through this short SlideShare:

Copyright Information


The concepts and materials on this website are intended to support persons who are interested in teaching/practicing scientific thinking. The materials are periodically updated and are copyrighted under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. You are free to copy, use, remix, transform, build upon and redistribute them as long as you note the source as The materials may not be used for sale. Rather, I encourage you to use and share them freely, so we may all continue to learn and the topic continues to evolve!

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