Guess my category

This strategy will help students to:

  • determine the similarities and differences between concepts or ideas


  1. Gather a collection of items, words or pictures (these may even be student generated ideas).

  2. Slowly place the items/words/pics into unlabelled categories. This can be done by placing words on sticky notes and sticking them to different walls in the room/desks in the room/in hoops. Objects/pictures can be placed in boxes/bags and removed one by one. This also be can be done electronically. 

  3. Invite students to give a 'thumbs up' when they think they know the category (but allow time for most of the class to have time to think before asking for any suggestions).

  4. As you add more things to the categories some students may realise that their category no longer matches the groups.

  5. Invite students with their thumbs up to place the next item/word/pic into the unlablled groups (without tell the rest of the class what the think the labels are).

  6. When all of the items are in the groups, invite students to share their answers and re reveal the labels for the groups.

Example: Social, emotional and physical changes during puberty

Ask the class to write down things they know about puberty on to sticky notes (one idea per sticky note). Collect the sticky notes and start placing them into the categories 'social changes', 'emotional changes', and 'physical changes'. You may like to use hoops so that the categories can overlap to create a Venn diagram.

Category A Category B Category C
friendship changes mood swings/changes penis grows larger
romantic partners sexually attracted to others periods
boyfriends/girlfriends PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) get taller
more independent from parents   hips get wider