What’s the big idea?
We discussed the idea that information is useless unless you can do something with it. We need to help students move to a conceptual level for higher order thinking. We explored this model of the structure of knowledge, through a variety of examples…
Facts are locked in time, place or situation. A concept is a big organising idea or mental construct, which is timeless and universal. The over reaching generalization (or enduring understanding) is usually in the form of a conceptual relationship. (eg Overcoming challenges requires discipline.)
The key concepts of the PYP (form, function, causation, change, connection, perspective, reflection and responsibility) are considered ‘macro’ concepts, which transfer broadly and and give us breadth, while ‘micro’ concepts (or sub concepts ) support the big ideas and give us depth.
We talked about this in Year 5 on Friday and they got the idea pretty quickly! We looked at pictures of families and I asked for big ideas, which are not locked in time, place or situation (concepts!). They said love, happiness, relationships, disagreement, abuse, caring, protection, arguments, perspective. I was thrilled! We can use these big ideas for our study of the biblical text of Jacob and Esau. The students quickly understood why perspective would be the conceptual lens through which we will explore the events in this family story.
'what is da big idea' photo from flickr by otherthings (in my cartoon)