APPLICATIONS - How educators are applying the Improvement Kata pattern

This page has tips & ideas for using the KiC exercises, from educators for educators. Run the KiC exercises as designed once or twice, to learn how they work. Then you can:

  • Run a follow-on KiC-1 exercise using your own simulation or game. Repeating the IK pattern but with different content is excellent practice. See examples below.

  • Apply the four steps of the Improvement Kata to student activities, projects and assignments. Practicing on something that is real and meaningful to the learner is particularly effective. See examples below.

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Typical progression of using the KiC exercises and the Improvement Kata pattern to practice scientific thinking:

EXAMPLES for using the Improvement Kata pattern in your classroom:

Share your KiC photos, experiences, improvements and how

you are using the four-step Improvement Kata pattern in your

classroom — by sending them to

We might post them on this website. See examples below.

Follow-On IK Exercise: Designing Rafts

By Jasmin Rengers-Gerritsen & David Bogaerts. "Today we are going to do something which you might not do very often at school. We are going to build rafts. But not just that. We are going to build rafts in the way scientists would do so: by doing as many experiments as possible." Instructions for this exercise are at:

Follow-On IK Exercise with Playing Cards

By Melissa Perri. Practice the 4-step Improvement Kata pattern with each student team using a deck of regular playing cards. Instructions for this exercise are at:

Flip Your Classroom

The day before you run the KiC exercise in your classroom, ask the students to watch the following 30-second video: When you start the exercise, ask the students to name the four steps of the Improvement Kata as in the video ("One Cee, Two Cee, Tee Cee, Test!").

Leave the '4 Steps' IK Poster on the Classroom Wall and Keep Referring to It

FedEx Office will print the poster in 2 foot x 3 foot size for about $5.-  ('KiC Poster.pptx' on the download page). After you run the KiC exercise, leave the poster on the wall and refer to it with other activities. Interleaving the 4-step pattern with different activities is a great skill-building technique.

Example IK Activity: Kata and the 3D Printer

A 5th Grade teacher in Traverse City, Michigan practices the 4-step Improvement Kata pattern in conjunction with the classroom's new 3D printer. She asks each student (1) what is their challenge, i.e., what the student would like to be able to make with the 3D printer. Then she asks the student (2) how much experience they have with 3D printing. The next question (3) is what the student would like to make next, on the way to their challenge goal. This might be a simple shape, for example. Then (4) the experiments can begin.

Example IK Activity: Kata and TED Videos

A teacher shows her class one TED video per week and then discusses it. She has already run the KiC exercise and has the IK poster on the wall. After each TED video she points at the poster and asks the class:

(1) What challenge did the presenter have?

(2) Where was the presenter when they started their journey?

(3) What was one of the presenter's goals. What obstacles did they face?

(4) What were some of the experiments that the presenter did in trying to reach their goal?

Have Parents Do the KiC Exercise Too (they'll love it)

A teacher in Germany has been running the KiC exercise in her class for several semesters. Now each semester she invites her students' parents to a parents-only running of the KiC exercise, and then asks the parents to reinforce the 4-step scientific Improvement Kata pattern at home.

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Photos from Classrooms


7th Grade

KiC Training for

a Robotics Team