The Depth and Complexity Icons

The primary objective of the framework is to provide students with challenging learning opportunities by applying Depth and Complexity to the study of the core curriculum. The icons of Depth and Complexity are prompts used to initiate a more advanced and extensive understanding of subject matter for all learners.  The Depth and Complexity icons are arranged in order of depth from the concrete to the abstract, and complexity from concepts and ideas to a more sophisticated level to connect learning across multiple subject areas. However, the icons do not need to be taught in a certain order, all at once, or within specific lessons. The icons should be thought of as a verb or lens of learning that will activate learning of content using higher-level thinking skills. The iconic prompts of Depth and Complexity challenge learners of all ages and are applicable to every subject.

The Elements of Depth:

The iconic prompts of depth refer to approaching or studying something from the concrete to the abstract or from the known to the unknown. Students tasked with using these lenses of learning work to examine topics by determining the facts, concepts, generalizations, principles, and theories related to the content. The elements of depth are Details, Patterns, Rules, Ethics, Language of the Discipline, Trends, Unanswered Questions, and Big Idea. 

The Elements of Complexity:

The iconic prompts of complexity inspire students to relate concepts and ideas at a more sophisticated level. The icons of Multiple Perspectives, Over Time, and Across Disciplines motivate learners to see associations among diverse subjects, topics, or levels. 

Click the icons below to learn more!

Watch the video below for a quick overview of the Depth and Complexity Icons.