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Concrete Examples


What are Concrete Examples?


Concrete examples are specific instances or real-life scenarios that illustrate abstract concepts or ideas. They provide a bridge between theoretical knowledge and practical application, making it easier for our brains to grasp and remember information. When you encounter concrete examples while studying, you connect the dots more effectively, leading to a deeper understanding of the subject matter.



How Do They Work?


Imagine you're learning a complex physics problem. Instead of just reading a formula and attempting to memorise it, a concrete example would present you with a real-life situation where that formula comes into play. By solving the problem using the formula, you not only understand how it works in theory but also see its relevance and application in the real world.


A common example would be when learning about the speed-distance-time equation. You could calculate the speed of sound in air by measuring the time taken for sound to echo from a building and the distance to the building. Alternatively, to measure the average speed of a moving object, you could measure the distance travelled by the object between two points and measure the time it takes to travel that distance. There’s a reason that Physics teachers around the world make use of these experiments in their lessons. The connection between knowledge and application creates stronger neural pathways, making it easier for you to recall the information when needed.


This idea is reinforced in the poster below from the Learning Scientists (The Learning Scientists).


Source: The Learning Scientists (https://www.learningscientists.org/posters)


Practical Tips for Studying Using Concrete Examples


  1. Real-world Applications: Whenever you encounter a new concept, take a moment to research how it applies in real-life situations. For example, if you're learning about Newton's laws of motion, look for videos or articles that explain these principles in action, such as how they influence sports, driving, or even simple tasks like throwing a ball. Understanding their practical applications will make the concepts more meaningful and memorable.

  2. Analogies and Metaphors: Use analogies and metaphors to relate new concepts to things you already know well. For instance, when learning about refraction, you could compare the change in speed and direction of light to a car driving from a road onto sand, where the car represents the ray of light, the road represents a less dense medium such as air, and the sand is the denser medium like glass. Analogies provide tangible images that aid comprehension and recollection.

  3. Visual Aids and Diagrams: Create or find visual representations that illustrate abstract ideas. Diagrams, charts, and infographics can be powerful tools for conveying complex information in a more accessible format. For example, if you're studying history, a timeline with significant events and their outcomes can help you understand the broader context.

  4. Storytelling: Transform your study material into a narrative. By incorporating characters, a plot, and a setting, you turn dry information into an engaging story. For example, when studying modern studies, imagine yourself as a witness experiencing a historical event first-hand, such as an election process or protest. This technique not only enhances your retention but also helps you recall facts in a logical sequence.

  5. Problem-solving Approach: When tackling maths, science, or even language problems, approach them with a problem-solving mindset. Instead of rote memorisation, focus on understanding the underlying principles. For instance, if you're learning about the Pythagorean theorem, apply it to different right-angled triangles to grasp its versatility and practicality.


Conclusion


By implementing these practical tips, you'll discover that learning becomes more enjoyable, effective, and long-lasting. Concrete examples not only help you grasp complex concepts but also empower you to apply your knowledge in various scenarios. Remember, the key is to bridge the gap between theory and practice, allowing your brain to connect new information with pre-existing knowledge.



Source: The Learning Scientists (YouTube)



 

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