EDU 6526 Survey of Instructional Strategies-Session 4

EDU 6526 Survey of Instructional Strategies

Session 4

Describe a unique instructional scenario that exemplifies inductive thinking.

Inductive thinking uses… “the process objectives (learning to build, test and categories) are combined with the content objectives (inquiring into and mastering important topics in the curriculum).” (p. 86)

“Best Guess”: Learning to Hypothesis

Present each child with a deck of 9 cards. Each of cards will have one symbol (triangle, circle, or square) and one pattern (stripe, outline or solid). For example a student will have 3 triangle cards: one with a striped triangle, one with a solid triangle, and one with and outline of a triangle. The same will follow for the square and the circle. I would then ask each of the students to put his or her cards in three groups of three, so the cards some way relate to one another. After they have done this, I would ask for an explanation of how and why they grouped them (stripes, solids, empty, shapes, all different) in the manner they chose. This would be conducted verbally or in written form.

Once several students have shared, I would encourage the class come up with a “best guess” or hypothesis about how many different combinations of three they can come up with using these nine cards; again, soliciting response verbally or having students write down their best guesses. I would then form pair-share or small groups with other students to try to have them make the number of combinations they hypothesized. Possible extensions could be pursued by asking additional questions: how many total combinations did your group make? Did any reoccurring patterns emerge? Did people in your group think about the possible connections differently/similarly? What would happen if your group had fewer/more cards to use? Do you think it might make a difference if you have even or odd number of cards? Why?

After each group has been given time with the cards, I would solicit responses to the posed questions.

Compare and contrast concept formation and concept attainment. Describe a unique instructional scenario that exemplifies concept attainment.

“Concept formation… requires the students to decide the basis on which they will build categories, concept attainment requires a student to figure out the attributes of a category that is already formed in another person’s mind by comparing and contrasting examples(called exemplars) that contain the characteristics (called attributes) of the concept with examples that do not contain those attributes. “ (p. 108)

By this definition we can explore the previous lesson of card grouping from the categories that the students have built themselves. For example if Johnny says that he put his card in to groups by shape you can ask them to demonstrate this with their cards at their desks. Thus Johnny would be exploring concept formation.

To explore concept attainment with the students introduce the larger deck of cards (with colors blue, red, green and the previous black and including all the shapes and patterns from before for each) and have them see if they can figure out what the common theme is as you show them cards that have “yes” or “no” attributes to your concept. For example hold up a red solid circle and say “yes”. Then hold up a blue striped circle and say “no”. Hold up a striped green solid circle and say “yes”. Hold up a green outlined circle and say “no”. Ask is there a pattern developing? Can anyone else give their best guess of another card that would fit into this category? This would go on till the students could figure out that the teacher was picking all the solid circle cards. Then challenge them to pair up with another student and try to see if they could guess what their partner’s pattern is. Then have each group see if they could come up with an example to present to the class. Have them write it down but not show or tell anyone and then present it to the class. Can anyone guess through the exemplars presented what the attribute is?

I think this style of teaching is one that I will easily gravitate towards.  I feel comfortable having kids hypothesize and explore concepts with nudging and guidance on my part.  But, as with any teaching model it must fit with the style that the teacher is comfortable with.

“…we encourage teachers to take the essence of this model and incorporate its features into their natural teaching styles and forms. In the case of concept attainment, it is relatively easy (and intellectually powerful) to incorporate Bruner’s ideas about the nature of concepts into presentations and assessment activities.” (p. 119)

Although it is, “relatively easy”, I expect this ease and comfort to develop over time with hard work and practice as I learn to apply the strategies of concept formation and attainment to my personal teaching style.



Joyce, B Weil, M., (1996). Models of Teaching (5th Edition). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon


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