Concept Attainment Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education

How do people learn? Use this video-based lesson plan to define the term 'concept attainment.' Then have students explore and apply concept attainment in a hands-on activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define concept attainment
  • explain how concept attainment is used to learn
  • demonstrate understanding of concept attainment


  • 1 hour


  • Paper
  • Index cards

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.2

Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.3

Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.


  • Show students a concept attainment model and ask them to observe and conclude. Discuss answers.
  • Tell students they just participated in a learning model called concept attainment. Share and discuss prior knowledge.
  • Start the video lesson Concept Attainment: Model & Strategy and pause at 0:58. Discuss:
    • What skills does the concept attainment model use?
    • Are there differing levels of concept attainment?
    • Besides pictures, what can be used in the concept attainment model?
    • How does the concept attainment model work?
  • Restart the video and pause again at 2:46. Ask:
    • Explain why concept attainment works using an example.
    • When and why do educators use the concept attainment model?
    • What is your experience with the model?
    • Does the model work for you?
  • Resume the video and allow it to play to the end.
  • Ask students to talk to a partner about the process of using concept attainment. Have them recall the three tips and list them on the board.
  • Answer any remaining questions.


  • Students will create their own concept attainment model. Allow them to brainstorm a theme, then draw images or words. Attach to paper or index cards.
  • Have students display their concept attainment model on their desktop and number their work (one for each student.)
  • Now have students take out a sheet of paper and number it, one for each student.
  • Instruct students to walk around the classroom, visiting each desk. Students should record their guess for the themes on their paper.
  • When finished, have each student share their thinking as others correct their guesses. Discuss and offer feedback.


  • Have students research how the concept attainment model is used in instructional preparation.
  • Research other work and philosophies by Jerome Bruner.
  • Instruct students to research other cognitive theorists. Compare and contrast.

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