Think - Pair - Share

Drawing of students working in pairs to discuss subject matter

Think-Pair-Share is a handy teaching method to get students to incorporate the course material actively in three simple steps.

After students have considered a question individually (Think), they discuss their ideas with another student (Pair) and share their joint input in a plenary session (Share). 

Activity goal
Activate prior knowledge | Assess | Brainstorm | Exchange knowledge | Recap / Summarize | Reflect
In class
Offline | Online
< 30 minutes
Group size
Small | Medium | Large

Zoom, Teams, Padlet, Mentimeter

Step 1

Present the students with a question, statement or case. 

Step 2

Think: Give the students sufficient thinking time to formulate their own individual answers.

Step 3

Have the students work in pairs to discuss their answers. 

Step 4

Share: Have the pairs share their answers in a plenary session. You can do this, for example, via an online tool, by having each pair present their answers one after the other, or by taking turns at random. Also allow the students to respond to each other. 

Variation 1

You can use the pair discussion in different ways during your teaching. For example to devise a way to apply the content, answer a question or summarise what was covered in the previous lecture.   

Variation 2

You can also have the pairs rotate if you have too many topics or wish to discuss complex material. This teaching method will then take longer.

Variation 3

Working in pairs is also a good option online (in breakout rooms) or in a hybrid form (an offline and online pair). You can facilitate ‘sharing’ online by using Mentimeter (Word Cloud or Open-Ended). You can also ask students to process their input in the Zoom or MS Teams’ chat function.

Consider the tools and materials mentioned here as suggestions. In many cases it’s possible to use alternative tools. Please turn to the Learning & Innovation team of your faculty (EUR or EMC) first to see which online and offline tools are available and how to apply them.


Students can complete a presentation sheet as summary/discussion. They can then share this in a plenary session.


You can place the students in breakout rooms in Zoom of MS Teams during the ‘pair’ round. Students can also use an online tool, such as Padlet.

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