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How to Teach an Inductive Learning Lesson

September 17, 2014


Jennifer Gonzalez

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This easy strategy, loaded with higher-order thinking, lets students get their hands on the content without further ado.


 

Sure, you’ve heard that we shouldn’t just spoon-feed information to our students, but what exactly should we be doing instead?

One possibility is inductive learning.

Inductive learning takes the traditional sequence of a lesson and reverses things. Instead of saying, “Here is the knowledge; now go practice it,” inductive learning says, “Here are some objects, some data, some artifacts, some experiences…what knowledge can we gain from them?”

A number of instructional approaches, including discovery learning, inquiry-based learning, and problem-based learning, could be considered inductive, and all of them are well-supported by research. If you’re just getting started with inductive learning, take a look at the video below, where we break down a very simple inductive strategy, one that takes less time and requires less planning than something like a PBL unit. It’s a method that can work with very simple concepts, like parts of speech, or more complex ones, like systems of government, and it would be appropriate for just about any grade level.

Dig it:

[Want to make videos like this? Learn more here.]

 

This strategy comes from a book I can’t seem to get enough of: The Strategic Teacher, by Silver, Strong, and Perini. This is the fourth research-based teaching strategy we’ve studied up close.

Try it and let me know how it goes. Or if you’ve already used this strategy or something like it and have finer points to share with the rest of us, please do. Happy teaching y’all. ♦

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8 Comments

  1. Elaine says:

    I am a HS chemistry teacher always looking for different methods to introduce, teach, and review for my students. I use a lot of technology in the classroom, as the school in which I teach is a `1:1 iPad school, but sometimes it is nice to shut the technology off.

    • Mary Kling says:

      Look into Modeling chemistry. It changed my entire approach to taxing chemistry. The first year was hard because students REALLY resisted. I had a phenomenal support teacher in my room most days who was my “cheerleader” and didn’t let me throw in the towel. I LOVE teaching again and can easily do this another 20 years.

  2. Cheryl says:

    This is how I have taught the majority of my concepts for years–even grammar. The kids love it and I love watching them figure things out. Thanks for the good information. I hope others jump on board.

  3. Hillary Stewart says:

    Do these cards already exist in a form that is downloadable (i’m imagining at a cost)? I teach HS Bio and am back in the classroom for the first time in 13 years!!! This is such a great way to teach classification and a great way to get the kids communicating!!

    • Unfortunately, no. I just put them together for the purposes of the video, but because I used a few images from other websites where I wouldn’t have had permission to re-distribute them for sale, I never turned them into an actual product. I would recommend you look at some of the products from Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy or Kesler Science; both have excellent stuff!

  4. Shaira Lucena says:

    Hi Ms. Jennifer Gonzales, Thank you for sharing your knowledge to us. It was really helpful especially for the students like me who is studying education. I just want to ask some suggestion if I were to use inductive method as an approach what is the best topic I should consider? By the way I am social studies teacher.
    Thank you.

  5. Mike Yell says:

    Totally agree with you about “The Strategic Teacher…!” It is the best book on teaching strategies I’ve read!

    I do not know what social studies discipline Sharia teaches, but I teach middle school history. Tomorrow, I will be doing an inductive thinking lesson that I put together on the legacies of Rome. Rather than using words, the kids categorize pictures.

    BTW, another strategy from the Silver book that uses the inductive learning method that you might explain to your readers is “Mystery.” I use Mystery in every unit.

    • Thanks so much for this, Mike! I gave a workshop not too long ago where I taught this strategy, and I was really stumped when a teacher asked me how she could use it in 8th grade social studies. This helps! If you get a chance, I would love to hear more about what the pictures contain and what the kids come up with.

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