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Concept Attainment Lesson: Democracy

Enduring Understanding: Forms of democracy can be clearly identified throughout the world.
Essential Question: In what ways does democracy affect your life?
Materials: Examples and Non-examples slips of paper, chalkboard, chalk
Set: Students will be familiar with the concept attainment lesson format using alternative concept.
Input of Examples and Non-examples and Testing for Attainment
Checking for Understanding
Name of Concept: Democracy
Definition of Concept: government by the people; a government in which the supreme power is
vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation
usually involving periodically held free elections.
Critical Attributes: Rule by law; equity before law; rule by majority: freedom of speech, religion;
rights to privacy, movement, and habeas corpus.
Now, we are going to look at examples and non-examples of a concept in history, and using the
same idea from Kitty Kelly, lets see if we can find out what this (pointing to blank box on board)
concept is?
1. Pass out slips with individual examples/non-examples on them to pairs of students.
2. Read first 6 examples/non-examples (#1-6) one by one and tell students if example or nonexample. Have students separate the two into columns on their desk.
3. Next 2 examples/non-examples (#7-8), gather hypotheses on whether it is an example or
non-example from students and together reach a decision on which column it belongs.
4. Last 4 examples/non-examples (#9-12), have them decide and go over as a class what the
answer is.
What do all the examples have in common? Who is in control in all of the examples? What does that
control look like?
5. List characteristics/critical attributes of examples on the board. Write on board. Make sure to
list all ideas shared.
Lets take all these characteristics and try to form a definition that includes all these ideas.
6. When students have listed the most important attributes, generate a definition of the
examples and write the different forms of the definition on the board.

Does anyone have an idea of what the concept is?


7. Narrow down to one word concept: DEMOCRACY
Sorting and Checking for Understanding:
Asking students to explain why the non-examples are not examples. Compare their reasons
with the critical attributes of democracy.
Check for understanding by helping students generate original examples, emphasizing
examples of personal relevance to their own lives.
Analyzing Thinking and Integrating Learning:
Reflect on what was going through their minds as they reached they concept of DEMOCRACY
Ask the following questions:
What criteria did you use for grouping items?
When did you first figure out the concept and how?
How does the concept relate to other concepts you know about?
Were you focusing on the concept as a whole or on a particular attribute?
How did non-critical attributes affect attaining the concept?
If you were going to teach the concept to a student younger than yourself, how would you do that?
Closure:
Discuss democracy in the world today looking specifically at the critical attributes listed. At the end
of the lesson, students will be asked to individually list the attributes of democracy that are evident
or not evident in the United States. This will be turned in to check for understanding.