In Mrs. Merrill’s College Writing class, students participated in a culminating fishbowl activity for William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Fishbowl activities engage students by providing them opportunities to analyze complex information, to use critical thinking skills, to collaborate with peers, and to voice their opinions. After students read the play, they were assigned groups and given a list of critical-thinking questions about character motivation, plot, and themes of the play. Students then worked with their groups to answer questions and select text from the play that supported their opinions.
On the day of the fishbowl activity, each group took turns discussing their opinions in the center of the “fishbowl”. While each group discussed Macbeth, the rest of the class listened carefully and critiqued the group’s performance on exit slips. After each group finished, another group entered the center of the circle to discuss their opinions and also be critiqued by their peers. Students were previously instructed that a successful fishbowl discussion includes in-depth answers, text citations, lively banter, and full participation of all group members. The fishbowl activity was beneficial for all students since all groups talked for around 20 minutes, and all groups had every member participate.