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Instructional Strategy

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Principle Learning

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Principles prescribe the relationship among two or more concepts. These relationships are usually if-then relationships or cause-effect relationships. Other terms that are used for principles are propositions, axioms, theorems, and postulates.

To make sure principle learning takes place, teachers must ensure that students have prior knowledge of the concepts that are being represented in the principle being taught.

Instructors can use either the inquiry or expository approach to teach principles. An inquiry approach to principle learning involves the instructor presenting learners with examples and nonexamples of the principle and encouraging the learners to discover the principle. An expository approach has the instructor presenting and demonstrating the principle and the student practicing the principles application.

Here are some ways that instruction events can be adapted when teaching principles.

1.              Introduction

  •    In the attention stage students should be directed to investigate the relationships between key concepts of a principle.
  •    During an inquiry approach the purpose can be defined as a puzzle to solve but it should be explicitly stated before the lesson is concluded. During the expository approach the purpose is explicitly state.
  •    Interest and motivation can be promoted by using a puzzling situation. Learners can also be shown experience that involve the principle or rule. Hearing how the rule can be used to explain, predict, or control everday situations can also be motivating.
  •    In the inquiry approach the lesson is previewed by giving students directions to the solution of the puzzle as well as an overview of how the lesson is going to progress. In the expository approach previewing a lesson may involve an outline of how the lesson will allow the learners to solve a puzzle or resolve a scenario that has been presented.

     2.          Body

  •    Prior knowledge can be activated by having the students review the concepts that are involved in the principle.
  •   During the process of information students are either presented with a statement of the principle and examples of the principle's application or presented with examples of the principle's application and are asked to come up with the principle.
  •    During the focus of attention, instructors need to help students determine which concepts are being related by the principle and how they are related. Students also need to be encouraged to focus on the features involved in applying a principle.
  •    Mnemonics is a strategy that can be used during the learning of a principle. A mnemonic device can be used to help students remember the principle statement. Techniques can also be taught to support the application of a principle.
  •    Learners should practice principles at four levels. First they should practice stating the principle. Next they should practice recognizing the situations in which the principle is applicable. Then they should practice applying the principle. Last, they should practice determining if the principle has been correctly applied.
  •    Teachers should provide feedback on each type of practice. They should evaluate whether the learner has correctly stated the principle, is able to recognize the situations in which the principle is applicable, whether they have correctly applied the principle, and whether they are able to show that they have correctly applied the principle.

 3.            Conclusion

  •    During the summary of a lesson instructors should restate the principle. They may also want to present the principle in graphic format to show the students the relationships among the concepts.
  •    To support the transfer of knowledge instructors should explain how the principle could be applied later in combination with other principles. They should also be encourage to find out how they can apply the principle to their daily lives.
  •   To remotivate and close the lesson the students should be shown how the principle's application is relevant to later instruction or their daily lives.

  4.          Assessment

  •    Assessment of principle learning may include the following: stating the principle, recognizing situations in which the principle is applicable, applying the principle, and determing if the principle has been correctly applied.
  •    Feedback should inform the learners whether or not they have acquired the ability to apply the rule.

To show an example of how a strategy to teach principle learning might be used. I have provided a lesson that teaches a principle.

The students will identify the relationship between temperature and pressure.

  1.          Introduction

  •    To gain student attention and arouse interest tell the students that they will be investigating the relationship between temperature and pressure.
  •    To establish the instructional purpose tell them that they will be conducting an experiment to see how temperature and pressure affect each other.

 2.         Body

  •    To process the information divide the students into small lab groups. Give each group two 20 oz bottles of clear soda pop at room temperature, two Celsius therometers, 2 Faherenheit therometers, and two rubber stoppers that will fit into the bottle. Students should also have a data sheet to record their findings. Then briefly explain the experiment. Tell students that they will be shaking a half-full carbonated drink to increase the pressure within the bottle. Tell the students that they will shake it twice, four times, six times, and so on, recording the change in temperature after every two shakes. Students will be performing this experiment two times, first using a Celsius thermometer and a second time using a Fahrenheit thermometer. They will be recording the data on their data sheet, then creating graphs with the recorded data. Once the students have create their graphs have them note how the temperature changed when the pressure was increased and explain to them that pressure generates heat and when pressure is increased then temperature is increased. That the principle they have just learned is that when pressure is increased the temperature increases.
  •    To practice the procedure have them apply the principle by varying the start temperatures of the soda used.

   3.                Conclusion

  •   To summarize the lesson restate the principle and show the students how they have proven that temperature and pressure are related.
  •   To support the transfer of information encourage the students to see if the reverse is true. Have them experiment to see if increasing the temperature of air, increases the pressure.
  •   To remotivate the lesson show the students that they can see the effects of pressure on temperature in the weather and this principle can be further be explored to see how temperature, pressure,and volume are related.

4.                Assessment

  •     To assess the students knowledge of the material have the students answer discussion questions on temperature and pressure to make sure they understand the principle and its application.
  •     Evaluate the worksheet to make sure they understand the principle and its application.