Use Advance Organizers In Math

Use imagery and graphics to develop interest and excitement in course materials.

Good teaching requires skill and technique. You can develop skills from mastery of content, foundational knowledge and experience, and develop techniques from utilization of tools, techniques and instruments to enhance the learning experience, thus motivating and challenging students. Advance organizers, according to Richard Lesh, educator and instructional coach, are introductory instructional units used to provide ideational scaffolding for new ideas and to point out similarities and differences between the new material and previously learned concepts.


1. Read a narrative. Set the tone for a discussion or lecture by reading a short passage that describes or contains elements of the planned topic. Examples might include a journal, newspaper article or monologue from a familiar television show. The goal is to entice the learners to want to know more about the subject.

2. Use an expository activity. Develop a prescribed set of instructions for students to follow to achieve a desired result. In a math course, this might be a business calculation or formula; in a science course, it could be a pre-laboratory experiment which develops the manipulative or kinesthetic skills of the students.

3. Utilize skimming techniques. Provide the students with a list of questions to answer and provide a designated time period where they must answer all of them using the textbook or Internet as resources. This is a bit of a scavenger hunt and could simply involve defining the formulas for a list of terms.

4. Develop a mental dazzle using graphic organizers. Assemble a collage of visual representations of subject-related material or show a short video of images that represent the topic of interest and convey a consistent theme. Consider a day in the life of an accountant, auditor, astronaut or banker.

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