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Build Connections

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Build Connections, developed by researcher Chris Hulleman, is a mindset strategy that helps students identify the value in otherwise obscure academic concepts or tasks by making associations between those concepts and personal interests or other inherently valuable ideas.


Fundamentally, the Build Connections strategy simply involves students identifying academic topics being studied, personal interests or inherently valuable tasks or ideas, and making connections between items on each list.

Teachers can implement this strategy in many ways, but one simple approach suggested by Dave Stuart Jr. is to have students first list topics being studied, then list personal interests, then identify one item from the personal interest list that relates to the academic topics list and reflect on why the two are connected.

Some teachers also suggest providing the list of academic topics to students based on content standards or academic vocabulary.


For a concise example of implementing the strategy, visit

For a complete overview of the strategy, visit

Watch a brief introductions to the concept here:

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