Purpose

This is a good strategy to help students learn or review the differences between several concepts. It requires students to apply their knowledge to specific cases or examples and it allows them to move around the room, making it a more physical or kinesthetic learning activity. 

Procedures

  1. Before class begins, choose a broad topic or concept that has several important parts. For example, if you are teaching about the First Amendment, a broad concept might be freedom of religion and subtopics might be the free exercise clause and the establishment clause. If you are teaching about the broad concept of intellectual property, the underlying categories could be trademarks, patents, and copyrights. Make signs naming the categories and post them on the walls in different corners of the room. 
  2. Create notecards or strips of paper that include characteristics or examples of each category. You may use words, hypothetical situations, pictures, or other visual media to illustrate each example. For the freedom of religion example, you might include photos of students praying at football games or summaries of key Supreme Court cases about religion. In the intellectual property example above, students might get pictures of logos and products and be tasked with deciding which ones are depictions of trademarked products, patented products, and copyrighted products. You should have at least one card for each student. 
  3. Once class begins, explain the purpose of the activity and the directions for students. Confirm they understand their tasks. 
  4. Distribute the notecards or strips of paper described above. Each student may get one or several.
  5. Ask students to decide which category their example fits in. If this is the first time the students are encountering this material, you will want to provide them with a textbook or handout that defines each category. Students may work on their own or in groups to decide.
  6. Once students have figured out which category their card(s) relate to, they should walk to the sign that best fits their example and attach their card to the wall beneath that sign and then return to their seats.
  7. Once all the examples are affixed to the wall, lead a whole-class discussion of each category—asking students to contribute the reasons why a particular example was placed in that category. If the students decide that something has been misplaced, they should move it.
  8. Conclude the activity with a discussion and debrief about the broad concepts, categories, and examples.