Anticipatory Set: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:05 What Is an Anticipatory Set?
  • 0:33 Anticipatory Set Parts
  • 2:04 Examples of Lesson Hooks
  • 2:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Joanne Abramson

Joanne has taught middle school and high school science for more than ten years and has a master's degree in education.

Getting students excited about learning can be a challenge. The anticipatory set helps you engage and prepare students for your lesson so they are eager to learn. Keep reading to learn more about the anticipatory set as well as examples of how to use it in your classroom.

What Is an Anticipatory Set?

You could start off your lesson by saying, 'Today we're going to study weather patterns.' However, it would be much more exciting to watch a video of a lightning storm. This is the idea behind the anticipatory set. The anticipatory set is a short activity at the start of a lesson that focuses the students' attention and gets them ready and excited for the material you're about to present. The anticipatory set should grab the students' attention, connect to their prior learning, and prepare them mentally or physically for the lesson ahead.

Anticipatory Set Parts

The anticipatory set contains five essential elements. It should engage and prepare students, connect with earlier lessons, explain the material students will learn, explain the activity the students will complete, and connect with future lessons.

Element Example
Engage and Prepare The teacher shows the students a video of a lightning storm. The teacher asks the students to name the different elements of the storm that they can observe. (Lightning, thunder, wind, rain, clouds, etc.) The students brainstorm how these elements affect the living and nonliving things that they see in the video.
Connect with Prior Learning The teacher states, ''Previously we have learned about natural disasters such as volcanoes and earthquakes.''
State What Students Will Learn The teacher continues, ''Now we will look at weather-related natural disasters like lightning storms, tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes.''
State How Students Will Learn The teacher tells students that they will be working in small groups, with each group learning about a different weather-related natural disaster. The groups will present their information to the rest of the class.
Connect with Future Learning The teacher states, ''Tomorrow we will come up with ways to make these natural disasters easier to survive.''

When designing the anticipatory set, use the following questions as a guide:

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