Connect abstract and concrete representations of concepts.

Connecting abstract ideas with concrete contexts can help students understand challenging topics and learn to transfer their understanding to new situations. There are many ways teachers can connect the abstract and the concrete including using stories, simulations, hands-on activities, visual representations, and real-world problem solving.

Teaching a new concept in purely abstract terms can make it difficult for students to fully understand what is being taught. On the other hand, teaching a new concept in exclusively concrete terms can limit a student's ability to recognize key concepts or understand how to apply the concepts when faced with a new problem. Connecting abstract and concrete representations, and clearly highlighting the similarities and differences, can help students master the content being taught and develop better problem-solving strategies.

  • All 12 Items

Sort by:

Learning Together About Connecting Abstract and Concrete Representations of Concepts

This training activity can be used to convene a school in-service session for teachers to learn why and how to make concrete connections to abstract concepts. Related Media and...

Tool
Document
05/19/2014
870 views

Discuss and Design: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Visual Representations

Use this tool to guide discussions, in groups, of ways to use graphics to promote learning. Related Media and Files: Using Graphics to Support Learning (Slideshow and Transcript)

Tool
Document
05/19/2014
1017 views

Planning Chart Activity: Incorporating More Concrete Connections to Abstract Concepts

This tool provides a format for brainstorming activities that use understandable representations to teach difficult concepts.

Tool
Document
05/19/2014
1074 views
Making History Come Alive

Making History Come Alive

Social studies teacher and curriculum trainer Matt Moorman explains how to help students understand abstract ideas by using visual techniques, including graphic organizers and visual...

School Example
Video
05/19/2014
926 views
Connecting Classrooms to the World

Connecting Classrooms to the World

Teachers at Normal Park Elementary explain how they use learning expeditions to make abstract concepts from textbooks into more memorable and understandable, concrete experiences for their...

School Example
Video
05/19/2014
614 views

Student Assignment: Acme Landscaping Closure Activity

View an end-of-unit assignment from the math department at Kettle Moraine High School that asks students to explain in concrete terms the abstract concept of tangent ratios. Related...

Sample Material
Document
05/19/2014
725 views

Graphic Organizer for Teaching Vocabulary With Visuals

Middle-school teacher Bonnie Bowen uses this graphic organizer in her classroom to incorporate the use of visuals in vocabulary instruction. Related Files: Plainwell Middle School...

Sample Material
Document
05/19/2014
1537 views
Demonstrating Thermal Layering

Demonstrating Thermal Layering

Using an aquarium and food coloring, science teacher Tasia Stamos re-creates the layers of warm and cool water in a summer lake to help her students visualize the effects of thermal...

School Example
Video
05/19/2014
795 views
Cupcake Geology: Using Models to Explain Abstract Concepts

Cupcake Geology: Using Models to Explain Abstract Concepts

In this multimedia presentation, fifth-grade teacher Deb Wickerham describes how she uses models and hands-on activities to help elementary students understand complex earth science concepts. See...

School Example
Video
05/19/2014
968 views

Lesson Plan: Cupcake Geology

View the lesson plan from Deb Wickerham's activity called "Cupcake Geology," which uses physical models to illustrate geologic concepts. Related Media and Files: Cupcake Geology: Using...

Sample Material
Document
05/19/2014
1063 views
Using Concrete Situations to Introduce Content

Using Concrete Situations to Introduce Content

In this interview, Dr. Brian Bottge talks about how teachers can introduce content with real-world problem scenarios and make connections with abstract concepts.

Expert Interview
Video
05/16/2014
826 views
Connecting Abstract and Concrete Representations of Concepts

Connecting Abstract and Concrete Representations of Concepts

View this multimedia overview to learn about how connecting abstract ideas with concrete situations can help students understand difficult concepts and transfer their knowledge to new situations.

Overview
Video
05/15/2014
1650 views
  • All 12 Items