Explore first is a method of teaching that gives students complex problems to explore before they receive direct instruction. The aim is for students, working together, to use their prior knowledge to consider possible solutions, then evaluate and explain the best answer. By struggling and sometimes failing to find a solution, the students gain a deeper understanding of the structure of the problem and its elements. In explore first, students try to solve complex problems in small groups before being taught the relevant principles and correct methods. The pedagogy has also been called ‘productive failure’, because students’ initial efforts at problem solving may cause them to fail or find a poor solution. Explore first is a more general version of productive failure, where the students first explore a complex topic in small groups, then get direct instruction. It can be done in the classroom, or online, or a mixture of the two.