Combination Key

Published on: Author: Greg Alchin

What is it?

This higher order thinking tool provides a scaffold for combining two “unlike” objects/ideas to create a new/innovative object/idea.

What aspects of learning are being supported?

  1. Bloom’s Taxonomy: remembering, understanding, applying, analysing, evaluating, creating
  2. QT – Intellectual Quality: Deep Knowledge, Deep Understanding, Higher-Order Thinking, Metalanguage, Substantive Communication
  3. QT – Quality Learning Environment: Explicit Quality Criteria, Engagement, High Expectations, Social Support, Students Self-Regulation, Student Direction

Which apps could I use?

  1. DEC managed collaborative tools (via Portal): Google Docs, Microsoft Office 365, Adobe Connect.
  2. Related collaborative tools: EvernoteiCloudBaiBoardNote AnytimeWeb2AccessCool Tools for Schools, and Exploratree.
  3. Analogue collaborative tools: Paper, pens and Postit notes.

How do I use it?

  1. List the attributes of 2 dissimilar objects (one within your area of study, one outside), then combine the attributes into a single object.

Some examples

Combination Key

The Leaf

The Mousetrap

They change colours through the year. They are made of wood and wire
Insects often eat them. They can kill mice.
Insects often eat them. They can be left in lots of places.


1. A miniature mousetrap for placing on leaves, that can kill insects when they try to eat the leaf.

2. Mousetraps that can change colour and blend in with the surface on which they are placed.

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