Relating for Understanding

Travis DixonTeaching Ideas

Learning is about making connections, so this basic consolidation activity is really useful for helping students connect ideas, terms and concepts.

I’ve found that a good consolidation activity to start lessons is to use the following diagram to get students thinking about how things are related. This can help students understand significant relationships, but can also consolidate their comprehension of key terms and concepts.

It take zero planning and is really effective at consolidating learning and developing understanding. You can simply project the diagram on the board and write in the terms in the empty boxes. You could write a guiding question if you wanted them to compare or contrast the items.

Upon reflection, I’ve found that I’ve often “taught” behaviours with little time spent on making sure students comprehend what those behaviours are. For example, when teaching about “aggression” it’s important that students know what this is or they’ll struggle to explain how it’s influenced by hormones and other variables. Using the diagram below to get students to compare “aggression” with “violence” can help them to comprehend and think about what actually constitutes “aggression.”

Some other relevant pairings might be:

  • Correlation and Causation
  • Prejudice and Discrimination
  • IV and DV
  • Theory and Model
  • Study and Theory
  • Conflict and Prejudice
  • Hormone and Neurotransmitter
  • Frontal lobe and prefrontal cortex
  • System 1 and System 2 Processing
  • Judgement and Decision making
  • Working memory model and multi-store model

It’s important to note that there are multiple possible answers as students might compare and/or contrast. The task is designed to bring new ideas to the front of their thinking and to provide the opportunity for students to develop comprehension of important terms and concepts. It can also spark interesting Q&A sessions.