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Early Childhood

introducing new concept to students

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Gabriella Hundza Gabriella Hundza 215 Points

When beginning a new topic/concept, what's the best way to introduce information? Should I immediately lecture about information, or should I allow some independent exploration? 

Selena Hernandez Selena Hernandez 200 Points

I would allow for some independent exploration at first that way the students can ask questions about the topic, this will also engage the students to want to know more about the topic, thus allowing you to teach agroup of students eager to learn. 

Akeili Hawkins Akeili Hawkins 1985 Points

Hi Gabriella!

I am a preservice teacher at UNI and have learned that the best way to introduce a topic is to have start with a phenomena. Find something that will get the kids excited and see what they already know about the topic. Then base the information you want to teach off of what they already know.

Samantha Serna Samantha Serna 180 Points

I think this is an excelllent topic to discuss Gabriella!!

Alexandria Teeple Alexandria Teeple 170 Points

Hi! I agree that the best way to start a lesson is with exploration and investigation.  This allows for students to be involved in their own learning process. If they are curious about the topic, that will lead to them wanting to know more. The 'lecture' could also be integrated into the experiment or between experiments—depending on what it is. 

Ashalenia Graham Ashalenia Graham 985 Points

Hi, Gabriella! I have only taught a handful of lessons, but I definitely would say that independent exploration is key to helping your students become naturally curious of the topic at hand!  Once their interest builds, then you can begin teaching them any new information.  However, if they are able to learn this new information themselves then I would definitely let them! I would only 'lecture' if needed!  All of this also depends on the grade level you are teaching!  Sometimes at some levels I do think that students need more help making these discoveries compared to other grades.  Hope this helps!

Aleeya Cheney Aleeya Cheney 610 Points

Hi Gabriella!

You should ask open ended questions to your students first about the topic to see how much they know before you dive in deep to the content. Allow students to brainstorm about what a topic means before jumping into what it really is. You want to uncover the truth about STEAM related concepts instead of merely just spitting out facts that students will likely forget by the next day. A great online tool to start your introductions to various phenomenas is called Iowa Phenomenas by PBS- This resource has many prompts for educators to utilize with their students and it follows the NGSS. If you live in the midwest this is a MUST resource to use with any grade level. My peers and I from Wartburg College made lesson plans and published them on this website. 

Hope this helps!

Ashley Rivera Lopez Ashley Rivera Lopez 220 Points

Recently I have discovered what a discrepant event is, where it is an unexpected turn of events.  You can search on youtube about it and it will give you a list of videos explaining how to create such activities and for what kind of topics you may use it for.  It is a great way to introduce new topics using hands on activities that will catch your students attention which will be useful for an introduction for your students.

Victoria Zavala VICTORIA ZAVALA 280 Points

Would you suggest any anchor charts for class discussion? I've seen a lot of techniques to incorporate prior knowledge. Would you suggest this before lecture?

Anne Lowry Anne Lowry 8763 Points

Much does depend on the age of your students and the requirements of the school.  However, I would recommend starting with experience first.  If you can make the experience literally tangible, the thinking is deeper.  As the saying goes, 'Your hands think'  Using phenomenon is another approach to introduce concepts.  Then have them bring out their prior knowledge by discussion 'that reminds me' 'that's like when', etc.  Anchor charts and such are usefyl for building community knowledge, which is also good time to introduce vocabulary


Have fun!


Shelby Pickel Shelby Pickel 190 Points

I agree with starting with experiences! It allows the students to develop deeper connections to the topics.  Plus when you ask questions on their experiences, it's a great segway to get the students curiosity going on why or how those experiences happened.  

Shelby Pickel Shelby Pickel 190 Points

I agree with starting with experiences! It allows the students to develop deeper connections to the topics.  Plus when you ask questions on their experiences, it's a great segway to get the students curiosity going on why or how those experiences happened.  

Jasmine Olivarez Jasmine Olivarez 100 Points

Hi!  When introducing a new concept to students, I would begin with an activity that will activate the students thinking and also engage them in the new topic.  Once you have their attention and have sparked some questions within them, then you can begin your lecture or lesson.

Lynn Katterhenry Lynn Katterhenry 820 Points

I think that when beginning a new concept, it is so important to start with the experience or phenomena. When you immediately lecture about the concept, you take all the discovery away from the students. This leads to less engagement with the concept and the students aren’t motivated as much to learn it. Also, the experiences first help students to develop deeper connections to the information that will later be presented about the concept. There may be specific vocabulary that the students need to know before exploring the phenomena that should be introduced at the start of a new concept.  

Aleeya Cheney Aleeya Cheney 610 Points


I agree with you completely. Anyone who wants to start with a phenomena should check out Iowa PBS phenomena if you teach in Iowa. It is a great website to introduce differnent concepts to students and get ideas for future lessons. It has so many phenomenas that students have seen or have experienced so it is easier to build upon their prior knowledge.

Here is the link

Jenna Vojtisek Jenna Vojtisek 1460 Points

Hello, I think that it is important to allow for a day or two of independent investigation time. This will allow for the students to begin forming ideas, questions, thoughts, etc. It will also help get your students excited to learn about what they are investigating because now they're curious. It is also a great time for students to have discussions with their peers on what they interpreted. 

Joseph McMahan Joseph McMahan 490 Points

I believe that when you are introducing a new concept to students it is important to give them an opportunity to explore the concept with a hands-on activity. I recently taught the concept of magnetic energy with my students. To introduce the concept to my students, I began the unit with a hands-on activity where the students were able to discover what objects a magnet does/does not attract. My students were able to use a magnet in order to attempt to pick up a variety of objects given to them. This activity encourage the students to predict what objects they believed would 'stick' to the magnet, and which ones would not. The students were very engaged in this activity, and allowed for a smooth transition into ideas such as magnetism, magnetic force, and attraction, which are all ideas involved with the concept. I believe that this activity was one of the main reasons my students were so interested in the concept as instruction continued throughout the unit. 

Lydia Johnson Lydia Johnson 500 Points

Hello! When introducing a new concept to students it is important to give the students time to explore. This can include hands-on activities that are student driven. By having the discovery process be student driven, the students develop their own inquiry. I have recently seen a lesson taught where the lesson started with a see, think, wonder. The lesson was on the desert habitats and the teacher had an image of sand on the board. This can be done with real sand if you have this material. The purpose of the see, think, wonder is to get the students engaged and developing thoughts. The see represents what the students see (patterns, color, texture, etc.) The think is what the students think it is. The wonder represents what the students wonder about the object. The students can write their observations on the board or in their interactive notebooks.

Dianna Gaspar Dianna Gaspar 2225 Points

Hi Gabriella, 

When introducing a new concept to students it is best to give students the opportunity to explore the new concept with a hands-on activity. Through hands-on activities students are able to visually see, think critically and use their curiosity to find answers. I believe that students are able to grasp a concept better when there is a balance between lecture and exploration and more so when the exploration process is done first. You can introduce your lesson by asking a question, demonstrating some pictures or even showing a video to students and then move to the hands-on activity.  

Kristin Preast Kristin Preast 1670 Points

I would slowly introduce it to them and have some time for them to explore the topic with worksheets, videos, and other learning tools. Then I would progress to lectures and experiments.

Brittany Goss Brittany Goss 210 Points

I am currently learning about this topic in one of my college classes. Children should definitely be able to explore new content first before diving into a lecture. When they are allowed to explore first, it allows them to make better connections to the lecture/reading. Our teacher does this with us as well. We first explore (work out problems with hands on activities) and then we read the chapter afterwards. I can definitely say that I make better connections when I learn new content in this order. 

Lisa Howard Lisa Howard 20 Points

I love the idea of letting students explore topics and develop their own natural curiosity about a topic. Growing up I struggled to get interested in science except when I had teachers who let the natural curiosity we had develop through exploration. I then appreciated those teachers helping to answer our questions. I hope I can be this type of teacher for my future students.

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