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Concrete to abstract

Posted on: February 23, 2019

It has taken me a while, but I finally used an old example to illustrate to future faculty how to start with the concrete to build up to the abstract.

Video source

In 2015, this ill-informed lawmaker brought a snowball as evidence against climate change. But he is not a model for using the concrete to illustrate the abstract.

No, the video is the concrete anchor with which to start student discussion on the abstract principles of weather, climate, and the difference between them.

Why start with something concrete? It is relatable, easier to understand, or otherwise meaningful.

Why link the concrete to something abstract? Learners need to develop higher order thinking — conceptualising, linking, extending, and the like — and it helps to provide some scaffolding.

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