About “Ponder: The Socratic Way”

The purpose of Ponder: The Socratic Way™ (formerly known as What Would Socrates Think?) is to stimulate critical thinking.  Students are provided with unpredictable patient scenarios that change constantly during play.  The instructor helps facilitate play by encouraging questions throughout the game.  Discussion after answering the questions and even adding questions by the instructor and/or students is encouraged for a richer experience when valuable “teaching moments” present themselves.  Students will participate by answering questions and thinking through situations.  The instructor may wish to allow students the option of using books, smart phones, or other resources to help answer the questions.  Students should bring a penlight, stethoscope, and other physical assessment tools like those they would have in the clinical setting.


The curriculum builder is ideally played with up to four teams of three to five students each team, but can be played with individual students.  Each team downloads a buzzer to utilize during play.  The goal of the game is to collect the largest number of “Status Improved” cards AND the fewest “Suffered Setback” cards.


Sample Question Card

A roll of the dice provides different diverse patients every time.  A spinner dictates drawing question cards or rolling more dice as the game plays, constantly changing the scenarios. Teams think through situations solving problems based on the patient’s pathophysiology, pharmacology, labs, and changing scenarios as they compete for game cards: “Real Nurse (RN)”, “Status Improved” and “Suffered Setback” cards—the team with the most “Status Improved” wins!


Sample Patient Demographic Card

Students must apply all of the principles of the nursing process—assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation as they bounce ideas off of each other in a non-threatening environment. Instructors facilitate the curriculum builder and take advantage of Socratic “teaching moments” as they occur in the game as if they were on a unit.  The real winner is solving problems and learning in a fun and non-threatening manner!



Accolades for Ponder (TM) the Socratic Way:

  • Games Used to Develop Critical Thinking Skills in Nursing Students
  • Critical-Thinking Challenge Games and Teaching Outside of the Box was published in the 2015 March/April issue of Nurse Educator, Volume 40, Number 2 p. 57-58.
  • 2014 Serious Games and Virtual Environment Showcase Runner-up Best in Show, Faculty Division for “Ponder ™ the Call Light Game,” San Francisco, California
  • Ponder (TM) the Socratic Way (formerly called “What Would Socrates Think?”) Was presented at the International Medical Simulation in Health Care (IMSH) Virtual Environment and Showcase in January 2013.  Approximately 3,000 people attended this conference, and “What Would Socrates Think” was well received.