Concept Formation

What is Concept Formation ?

Concept formation provides students with an opportunity to explore ideas by making connections and seeing relationships between items of information. This method can help students develop and refine their ability to recall and discriminate among key ideas, to see commonalities and identify relationships, to formulate concepts and generalizations, to explain how they have organized data, and to present evidence to support their organization of the data involved.

What is its purpose?

In this instructional method, students are provided with data about a particular concept. These data may be generated by the teacher or by the students themselves. Students are encouraged to classify or group the information and to give descriptive labels to their groupings. By linking the examples to the labels and by explaining their reasoning, the students form their own understanding of the concept.

Concept formation lessons can be highly motivational because students are provided with an opportunity to participate actively in their own learning. In addition, the thinking process involved helps them create new and expanded meaning of the world around them as they organize and manipulate information from other lessons and contexts in new ways.

How do I do it?

Concept formation involves the recognition that some objects or events belong together while others do not. Students are provided with data about a particular concept and are encouraged to classify or group the data. Once the objects have been grouped according to a particular categorization scheme, the grouping is given a label. This type of strategy could be used when identifying different terminology of computer software applications. Teachers may ask students to identify and list a number of items found in a setting, group the items that belong together using common characteristics, label the groupings, and rearrange and relabel items into subgroups, if students feel that is possible. The teacher is the initiator of the activity and guides students as they move cooperatively through the task.

Teacher Resources

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