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Activating Prior Knowledge in the Classroom

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Lori is a 9th grade math teacher at a small middle school that serves a farming community. She has worked at the school for 5 years and has learned that it is a community that thrives on three things: family, farming, and football. Every boy growing up in town has aspirations of varsity football glory, but most will end up spending their lives working the family farm. Walking into her third period class on the first day of school, she finds herself faced by 15 rambunctious teenagers. Even scarier, 12 of them are boys. As she begins the year, Lori wants to grab her students' attention by providing an engaging introduction to the practical value of math. Her first unit of the year introduces the adding and subtracting of fractions and she wants to build on the knowledge her students already have acquired, both in and out of school.

1. Give an example of a specific strategy that Lori can use to activate the prior knowledge existing in her classroom and steps she can take to implement it.
2. What other resources might Lori use to gain a further understanding of the existing knowledge base of her students?
3. How might she combine what she knows about her students and the community with her unit focus (fractions) in a way that immediately engages the class?

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1.Give an example of a specific strategy that Lori can use to activate the prior knowledge existing in her classroom and steps she can take to implement it.

Lori must activate prior knowledge by engaging the students with protocol analysis as an ongoing cognitive lab that uses a qualitative approach enabling individual students to complete items through discussion while verbalizing their thoughts. In these discussions the teacher has the ability to deduce students' prior knowledge of test items and objective items by having the students disclose their ...

Solution Summary

The solution gives examples of teaching strategies that can be used to activate prior knowledge in the classroom and engage students.

See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

How does activating prior knowledge in students impact reading comprehension and long-term retention?

In the classroom, when trying to engage students for the best results in learning new material, it is important to take some basic steps to guarantee student success. In terms of reading, specifically reading comprehension and long-term retention, it is especially important to activate prior knowledge.

Prior knowledge is the knowledge a student brings with him or her to the classroom: information that has already been learned and added into a student's long-term memory. Educators cannot assume that all students "come to the table" with the same background knowledge. If this is done, some students will be left behind as learning for other students moves forward.

With this in mind, sometimes classroom teachers need to take a step backward to assure that all students start from the same place, with necessary prior knowledge in place. This is called "activating prior knowledge." Doing this guarantees a higher level of success for all students. There are a variety of ways to do so, each of which will benefit all students. There are also some devices readily available for teachers in all content areas that help students to read and learn new information, and import it into long term memory?information on which to build future lessons, thereby expanding a student's cache of knowledge.

A link offering assistance is provided.

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