No Series: Too Hard? Break It Down!

Too Hard? Break It Down!

Lesson Objective: Simplify to make content accessible
All Grades / All Subjects / Scaffolding
2 MIN

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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. Ms. Park says, "Anything that can be broken down to the basics can be taught." How can you figure out what "the basics" are?
  2. How could you teach students to simplify hard concepts on their own?

50 Comments

  • Private message to Rebekah Burns

1. Breaking things down to "the basics" is breaking concepts down to the bare minimum. "The basics" can be considered terms or simpler concepts. These are built on to create more challenging concepts. 

2. Students can be taught to simplify hard concepts on their own by teaching them strategies to break them down, teaching them to focus on the main question or thought. Concepts can be compared to building blocks: they start small but grow with more information and details. Teaching students to visualize concepts this way may aid in preventing them from being overwhelmed. They can picture the concept that they learned before, then add to it to what is being asked. 

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  • Private message to Gretta Brinson
  1. Ms. Park says, "Anything that can be broken down to the basics can be taught." How can you figure out what "the basics" are? You just need to break it down and see what to focus on.
  2. How could you teach students to simplify hard concepts on their own?  Teach them how to break it down in sections. Then they can continue to break out each section of the concept to get to the root. You teach them to dissect the problem.
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  • Private message to AUDREY Batiste

1. To figure out what the basics are you have to start from the beginning at that very first step and teaching what is the utmost important referencing that content.

2. A good way to teach students to simplify hard concepts on their own is by giving them work that is above their grade level and motivate them telling them that grades higher than theirs are doing the same thing. This will make them want to do their best and also try harder to succeed.

 

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  • Private message to Clifton Harper

1.  It is all about how you teach it to them. I believe a student can pick up how to do a problem by the way a teacher teaches it.

2. You can show them by modeling the problem.

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  • Private message to Danny Hollier

 

  1. Ms. Park says, "Anything that can be broken down to the basics can be taught." How can you figure out what "the basics" are?

Personally, I break down complex subjects into their simplest parts. What is their beginning? Why was it created? How do the parts/ideas work together? Understanding the fundamentals lays the groundwork to explore more complex areas of the subject.

  1. How could you teach students to simplify hard concepts on their own?

I would teach them to ask tons of questions, especially “why”. If a subject or idea is confusing, step back. Where did this idea come from? Why? Go back to the beginning of an idea. Learn its history in simple steps. Find its basics and build from there.

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Transcripts

  • [00:00]
    Interviewer: I absolutely think that there is not anything out there that’s too hard. You just have to break

    [00:00]
    Interviewer: I absolutely think that there is not anything out there that’s too hard. You just have to break it down, and know what to focus on and what not to. Anything that can be broken down to the basics can be taught.

    Do plants absorb heat? What on earth does that have to do with the greenhouse? What is your hypothesis?

    The students will always rise to the occasion.

    Yeah, what does the greenhouse effect have to do with global warming?

    Interviewee: Well, the main question is—well temperature change, if carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere.

    Interviewer: They’re hard concepts. For example, with climate change and with the greenhouse effect. What I do at the beginning I say, “You know what, college students are learning about this. High school students, and scientists who are a lot older than you. This is what they’re doing, but I’m gonna challenge you to do it.” They all want to, they’re like, “Bring it on.”

    Ready, set, go.

    Interviewee: Does more CO2 than regular atmosphere affect temperature.

    Interviewer: I know it’s complicated. We’re not hitting everything, but by breaking it down to their very basics, I’m sure that there is portions that they can understand. I do feel like we’re making mini-scientists, and active—proactive students.

    The eleventh graders who do the same thing as you, and you guys are younger than them, but you did it. Tell someone next to you, “We did it.”

    It makes me very proud of them.

    [End of Audio]

School Details

Eastside College Preparatory School
1041 Myrtle Street
East Palo Alto CA 94303
Population: 336

Data Provided By:

greatschools

Teachers

Alma Suney Park
English Language Arts Math Science Social Studies / 6 / Teacher

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