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Concept circles

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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:28 by NZTecAdmin
Concept circles (PDF, 28 KB)

The purpose of the activity

The learners will discuss the meanings of words and the relationships between them in the light of their own experiences.

The learners explain concepts (including the meanings of words), see connections between concepts, and activate their background knowledge.

The teaching points

  • The learners unpack conceptual relationships.
  • The learners use specialised words to explain the relationships between concepts.


  • A whiteboard and markers.

The guided teaching and learning sequence

1. Draw a circle on the board and divide it into four segments.

2. Write a key word associated with the subject content in each segment. The four words all need to express concepts that relate to each other.

3. The learners work in pairs to discuss the words in the circle, working out and explaining the conceptual relationships that link the words.

4. The learners share and discuss their ideas with the whole group.

Follow-up activities

  • Leave one segment of the circle blank and ask the learners first to work out what the missing concept or term could be, then explain their choice to the group.
  • Give each learner a word or term. The learners move around the group, find a partner, and make a clear connection between their words or terms. Each pair then links up with another pair and makes connections between all four terms. This continues until all pairs are in small groups. Each group explains to the other groups the connections they worked out.
  • The learners can select the best words from each part of the circle to use as they plan and compose writing for a specific task.


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