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Concept Attainment

By: Jessica L. Bates


What is the Concept Attainment Model?
• Teaching model that supports students’ deep understanding of concepts and
development of conceptual knowledge.
• The model is teacher-guided
• Students develop an understanding of the concept being taught through
analyzing examples and non examples for their critical and non-critical
• Yes & NO
Key Vocabulary
• Examples- instances that illustrate or exemplify a concept
• Nonexamples- instances that do not exemplify a concept
• Critical attributes- common, essential, fixed, and specific characteristics unique to
a concept
• Noncritical (Variable) attributes- are any features of a concept that vary and are
not necessary characteristics of the concept.
• Generalization- a person’s ability to identify critical attributes in an example
• Discrimination- a person’s ability to identify critical attributes in a nonexample.
When should it be used?
• When teaching Conceptual knowledge
• Conceptual knowledge includes knowledge of the relationships between big ideas such
as classifications and categories.
• To promote students’ thinking skills
• Specifically the ability to discriminate and generalize
• When introducing and assessing concepts
When should it be used? Contiued…
• To teach concepts with clear critical attributes
• Posess concrete critical attributes
• Have widely accepted critical attributes
• May be categorized
• Are easily identified in examples
• Can be presented in a classroom
• It should be used when high-quality examples and non examples can be
The Steps
1. Presentation of examples
2. Formation and analysis of hypotheses
3. Closure
4. Application
• Promotes retention
• Engages students in active learning
• Supports higher-order thinking
• Capitalizes on prior knowledge
Technology Integration: During Teacher

• Digital resources to help define concepts

• Ex) Dictionaries, Thesaurus, Quotation Database, Search Engines
• Concept Mapping Tools to portray concepts visually
• Freemind, Gliffy, Inspiration, Kidspiration, Mindmanager, Mindview, SmartDraw, Visio
• Search for media demonstrating examples and nonexamples
• Google Image, Picsearch, Creative Commons, YouTube, TeacherTube, Blinx
Technology Integration: During Presentation

• Present examples and nonexamples digitally

• PowerPoint, Keynote, HyperStudio, SMART Notebook, Kidpix, Pixie 2
• Project examples and non examples to small and large groups of students
• Panaboard, SMART Board, Promethean, Mimio, Elmo, Overhead Projector
• Form and analyze hypothoses
• Interactive whiteboards, Tablet Computers
Technology Integration: During Application
and Closure
• Demonstrate understanding in digital format before and after learning
• Any digital tool could be used. Some interactive tools that could be used are Interactive
whiteboards and Audience response systems.
• Reflect and Share learning in digital format
• Digital Audio recording devices ( ipod with italk, Olympus), Screen recording
(Camtasia, Captivate, Jing, Screencast-O-Matic, Smartpen), and Web 2.0 Tools
(VoiceThread, Wikispaces, PBWiki, Moodle, Blogger, Wordpress)
Differentiation of Instruction
• Content
• Students might experience the content in the lesson in different ways.
• Ex) Using pictures instead of written text for ELLs
• Process
• The process of instruction might be varied in numerous ways.
• Ex) Provide instructions for the lesson in advance to ELLs in their native language.
• Ex) Teach in a succession of small groups rather than large.
• Product
• Allow students to present their knowledge using a variety of tools of their choice.
How can the Concept Attainment Model be
used in the Classroom?
• Art
• Color Wheel, Creative Medium, Sculpture
• Language Arts
• Academic Rules, Capital Letters, Adjectives, genre, irony,
• Math
• Bar Graphs, shapes, volume, fractions
• Music
• Musical Notes, wind instruments, meter, composition, tone
• Health/PE
• Body Systems, game rules, wellness, self-esteem
• Social Studies
• Land formations, farming, map, flag, ancient class systems
• Science
• Circuits, properties of matter, sources of energy, distance, animal classification.
Experts and Blogs
• Twitter:
• 1.
• 2.
• 3.
• Blogs:
• Kilbane, C.R., & Milman, N. B.(2014). Teaching Models: Designing Instruction for
21st Century Learners. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.