## Tuesday, December 13, 2011

### Lesson Plans and Research

We often hear of research based strategies and how to use them in our classrooms.  Having worked at two colleges in the past eight years, I have discovered that some who are doing this research have never been in a classroom or taught anyone under the age of 18!  (Sad but True)  Then there are others who truly understand teaching, have done it, and want to make it more effective for everyone. That's the kind of research I am anxious to use.  I came across the Conceptual Development Model while teaching a math methods class to future teachers.  It was one of the first researched models that I knew would work.

The Conceptual Development Model involves three stages of learning – 1) concrete or manipulative, 2) pictorial, and 3) the abstract.  The concrete stage involves using hands-on teaching which might involve the use of math manipulatives or real items.  Next, the pictorial stage utilizes pictures to represent the real objects or manipulatives. A visual such as a graphic organizer would also fit in this stage.  Last, the abstract stage of development entails reading the textbook, using numbers to compute, solving formulas, etc.  Let's look at two classroom examples.

Example #1:  You are a first grade teacher who is doing an apple unit.  You decide to have the children graph the apples, sorting them by color.

Concrete:  Using a floor graph, the children use real apples to make the graph.

Pictorial:  The children have pictures of apples that they color and then put on the floor graph.

Abstract:  The children have colored circles which represent the apples.

Example #2:  You are a fifth grade teacher who wants to teach how to find the volume of a cube or rectangular solid.

Concrete: Bring a large box into the classroom, a box large enough for the children to climb inside, OR have the students build 3-D objects using multilink cubes.

Pictorial: Give the students pictures of 3D objects which are drawn but shows the cubes used to make the solid. Have the students count the cubes to determine the volume.

Abstract: Have students use the formula l x w x h to find volume.

Requiring my perspective teachers to think about this model and to use it when planning a math unit dramatically changed the quality of instruction which I observed in the classroom.

 Writing Lesson Plans
Now that I teach mathphobics on the college level, I am finding this model to be a crucial part of my planning.  Most of my students started math at the abstract level, "Open your books to page...." without any regard to the other two stages of development.  Using manipulatives and graphic organizers have changed my students' ability to learn math, and some have even ended the semester by saying, "I like math".  Maybe this is a model we should all consider implementing before we start back to school in January.

If you want more examples and suggetions about using this model to write lesson plans, click under the Conceptual Development model on your left.

#### 1 comment :

1. I love the example you gave! Made sense of it all.
I think it would be ideal if teachers actually had the time to go through the entire process. I feel that with the pressure of testing and the amount of material we are pressed to cover we cheat the kids a little.

Thanks for sharing!

Happy Holidays!

❤ Mor Zrihen ❤
A Teacher's Treasure