Teaching Compression Planning to K-12 Students: Curiosity Quest Problem Solvers

Last week I shared how I used and “taught” Compression Planning to a group of 44 K-12 students.

Several of you wrote asking for more information on that application.

I went back and looked for what we developed and used with the students.

Curiosity Quest Cover

Curiosity Quest Handout Download

I’m including a link to the booklet pictured above as I think, and it may be author’s pride, that there is some good material in there that will help Compression Planning alumni in their Design efforts.

In setting up the day of Instruction, I worked in partnership with teachers from the following levels:

  1. High school teacher who works with students in her district’s gifted program.
  2. Middle school teacher who works with special education students.
  3. A third grade elementary school teacher.

I also asked my soon-to-be fourth graders, Lauryn and Logan, for their input.

We had a concept we wanted to test before rolling out.

I remember when our partner asked me “have you ever done anything like this before?”

My answer was “not really.”

It’s funny as that has been the answer to many of the projects we’ve been asked to lead over the past four decades!

Stephanie and I have led other groups of high school students through Compression Planning sessions, but never had we been asked to teach it to them.

One of the items it has made me think about is “just in time learning.”

How do you get people smart enough…quickly…so they understand your project/topic and they are able to generate useful ideas?

And it occurred to me that it is in the “background.”

A few tips on background:

  1. Use the Purposes of your Session as your “North Star”
  2. Identify 10-12 pieces of DATA and facts that help participants understand the context of your project.
  3. Think of supporting artifacts – pictures, charts, actual products, etc. – They say a picture is no longer worth 1000 words. Due to inflation, they are now only worth 437. Still a big return on the investment so think through how you can bring your topic alive.
  4. Revisit the blog that Jerry wrote in October of 2014. https://www.mcnellisco.com/how-to-really-background/

If you do decide to use Compression Planning with students, please share.

It’s an application that impacts all of us and I want others to learn from all of our efforts.

Best Compression Planning wishes,




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