Darth Vadar looking at a clipboard with a pencil behind his ear.

Pro, Con, Caveat


Activity aim: to encourage peer teaching; to encourage synthesis; to check student progress and generate questions; to review content

Materials needed: A Pro / Con / Caveat grid (students can make them)

Time estimated: 15-20 minutes (depending on follow-up conversation)

Activity description: This activity has been modified from an activity developed at the Center for Excellence in Teaching at the University of Southern California.

For homework, students complete a grid listing the pros and cons of something related to your course content. They also chart “caveats”: not pros or cons, but necessary considerations.

So, for example:
Eating Ice Cream

Pro Con Caveat
Ice cream is delicious! You can get a brain freeze if you eat it too fast. You have to consume it in moderation.

In class, students share their pro/con/caveat grids with one another, and they choose the best pros / cons / caveats to chart onto a “super” grid.

From there, students use a program like Google Docs to add all of their pros / cons / caveats to a “super super” grid that the whole class collaboratively generates (at home or in class). Students need to look for and eliminate repetition, edit other people’s responses, and ultimately generate the best possible version of the grid. Students should choose one con or one caveat and comment on it with a possible solution. If there are more students than cons and caveats, students could also comment on each other’s solutions.

For a more low-tech feedback option, students could do a roundtable discussion.

You can watch a demonstration of this activity here.

Image credit: JD Hancock