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Protocol Toolkit Item: 8b


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Square Circle Triangle is a self-reflection activity that allows participants to reflect on a meeting/session by identifying specific ideas/concepts that align with their thinking, essential points they want to remember, and remaining questions they might


  • Square Circle Triangle Handout
  • Sticky notes
  • Poster Paper


10-20 Minutes


In preparation for the Square Circle Triangle Reflection protocol, facilitator(s) must create and post three posters around the meeting room. One should be titled Square, the second should be titled Circle, and the third should be titled Triangle. If the group is large, it may help to create two posters for each shape.   Square Circle Triangle Handout copies should be made for each participant, and there should be enough sticky notes available for participants to write on five to 10 individual sticky notes.   Note: The Square Circle Triangle Protocol is an excellent way for a group to reflect on gatherings where information was shared in a presentation or exchanged between participant groups.    Virtual Implementation
  • For virtual meetings, the posters can be created on a virtual whiteboard (Zoom whiteboards, Padlet, Google Slide, etc.) to which all participants have access and editing power. Please note that some applications will limit the number of contributors; check to ensure that the number of participants accessing your whiteboard is allowed by the application. Participants will add their responses to the virtual whiteboard.
  • Facilitators can decide whether to provide each participant with individual electronic copies of the Square Circle Triangle Handout.


Step 1:

Introduce Protocol Share the following information with participants:
  • Introduce the content on the Square Circle Triangle Handout
    • The Square part of the reflection is for participants to reflect on what part of the session or what information was shared “squared” with them. What resonated with things they already knew or believed?
    • The Circle part of the reflection is for participants to reflect on what questions are still “circling” in their minds. This reflection should be written as a question.
    • The Triangle part of the reflection is for participants to reflect on three crucial “Points” they wish to remember from the day’s session or meeting.
  • Participants will write their responses in the columns under each shape on the Square Circle Triangle Handout. Then they will take some time to share their reflections with the group using the sticky notes and posters displayed around the room.
    • After capturing the reflections on the Square Circle Triangle Handout, participants will transfer each reflection onto a sticky note. One reflection per sticky note.

Step 2:

Individual Reflections (5-10 minutes)
  • Facilitator should give the participants several minutes to reflect and to write on the Square Circle Triangle Handout. 
  • When participants are finished reflecting, they should be sure all of their responses have also been written on individual sticky notes.

Step 3:

Sharing Square Circle Triangle Reflections (5-10 minutes)
  • Participants should take their sticky notes and place them on the corresponding posters.
  • Facilitator now reviews with the group what has been posted, beginning with the Square poster. A facilitator should group reflections that are the same or similar (it’s helpful to have a second facilitator do this process if possible). 
  • Facilitator should move through the Circle poster and then the Triangle poster, sharing all reflections and grouping similar responses.
  • If the facilitator can respond to questions on the Circle poster that have short and simple answers, they may do so. Otherwise, follow-up communication or sessions with participants can provide an opportunity to respond to questions.
  • Participants should keep their Square Circle Triangle Handout for reference.
  • Thank the participants for contributing to the reflection.
Note: The group size will determine the time this protocol takes to complete. Some alternatives might be:
  • Have table groups share their reflections in a round-robin format, and the facilitator only notes one or two themes emerging from the posters at the end of the reflection time.
  • If there is a small number of participants, each participant can share their sticky notes with the whole group as they are placed on the posters. Do one shape at a time; all sticky for one shape are shared before the group moves on to the next shape.

Resources & Further Reading

Examples of Use

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