The three part lesson ~ What is Bansho?

Once you have chosen problem-solving questions that are engaging and demanding both procedurally and conceptually, it is time for your students to work in their groups.  When they have worked through a solution it is time to have the deep and meaningful conversation about the process of solving the question.  Students need to be given the opportunity to observe what others have done, what mathematical concepts others have applied to solve the problem.  This process will support students to make connections to their own learning and become adaptable to other methods to help them solve future problems.

Three methods that can be used for this part of your lesson are Bansho, Gallery Walk and Congress.

This post will give a breakdown of Bansho and future posts will discuss the other two.  Make sure you subscribe to be up to date with our posts.


This high yield strategy derives from the Japanese word that means “blackboard”.  The Japanese developed an instruction style where everything is recorded on the board.  Nothing is insignificant.  Every thought is respected and discussed.

On your work on it part of your three part lesson students complete their solutions (determined by you if they are working in pairs, or groups), teachers use their “blackboards” (or any other flat surface) to display student solutions. This is where students can discuss, compare and contrast ideas presented.  Students are to sort and classify their solutions according to mathematical complexity.  This by no means is a grading/scoring system.

An initial suggestion is to have 3 diverse solutions presented and discussed.  You can figure this out when students are initially working on their solution, making mental notes of the ones are different. Then ask students if they have a different way of solving the problem.  If so, then have students present their different solutions.  If not, then have students display their solution in the spot that matches their solution.

Again this brings you to a time of discussion and reflection.  Students compare and contrast solutions.  They support and defend their placement of the solution at that spot.

So what is it that teachers need in materials for this type of strategy?

Paper or chart paper


Magnets for blackboard or tape

A flat surface where work can be displayed

An understanding that students will move around, discuss and analyze.  You as a teacher are there to mediate and adjust but not to correct their thinking,

Here are a few images of what Bansho looks like!


















By clicking on the image you will be taken to the original source of these wonderful images!

Let us know how Bansho has worked in your classroom.  Don’t forget to post your images!

Look for my next post on Gallery Walk!





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