Better than a definition….

Orbit - examples and non-examples
Orbit – examples and non-examples

A definition is a terrible thing for teaching what a word means.

Orbit: the path followed by a moon, planet or artificial satellite as it travels around another body in space (NASA).

This definition is only useful once you are already pretty secure in your understanding of the word.

To develop a subtle and nuanced understanding of a word such as orbit, exposure to examples, especially the less common examples, such as the Mars Global Surveyor orbiting Mars, and to non-examples, where learners are told, “this may look like an orbit (something going round something else), but it isn’t an example.

I developed the resource on the left from Theory of Instruction: Principles and Applications by Siegfried Engelmann and Douglas Carnine (Chapter 4).

I use the images, typically one at a time on a presentation slide, explaining why it is or isn’t an example. You can rattle through this quite quickly. Follow it up with a Hockman ‘but, because, so‘ 

  • A moon orbits a planet, but…
  • A moon orbits a planet because…
  • A moon orbits a planet so…

or you could use elaboration with a similar/different task (here).

My next post is on Freyer Models to take the definition/example/non-example further.

And…. my book is coming out this week!


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