Cooperative learning strategy: 1-3-6

This is one of many strategies in a packet I received at my new teacher grad class, but one that stuck out. In the 1-3-6, numbers refer to the amount of students involved at each stage.

First, you ask each student to make a Top Five list. In English, it could be things like: five most important scenes from a novel; five most important points from an article; five most crucial characters to a story; vocabulary/synonyms; other open-ended and controversial things; etc.

Then, after each student has a Top Five list, put them into groups of three. This group of three should, in theory, have a combined list of fifteen things (might be some overlap). Collectively as a group, they must whittle their list back down to five. This means they’ll be defending their choices, trying to win over allies, and sort through information to determine what’s most important and/or accurate.

Finally, two groups will combine into one, for a total of six students and list of ten things. Once again, they must whittle the list back down to five. Let the defenses and arguments begin.

Other subjects obviously aren’t my forte, but I could potentially see it being useful in social studies, science, math, foreign language, and elementary school classrooms as well. Any ideas from those quarters how this might be a useful classroom strategy?