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Teaching Generalization



Does anyone know of a good lesson to teach generalization? I am looking for something that would really interest the students. Please let me know.


Senior Member

One of my students made the comment that "girls can't catch" during class. I turned it into a lesson on generalizations by having the boys explain why they said it. Later that day we played kickball, boys vs. girls, and every time a girl caught the ball, they would make sure to remind him of what he said. The class understands them much better now.



This lesson worked and the kids really enjoyed it.

We made a picture of a "GENERAL" on poster board and discussed how he
is in charge of deciding whether statements are valid or faulty. We discussed generalizations and how they are broad statements that apply to many examples. We practiced using a few statements that the kids could relate to....
ex. Most children like pizza.
All boys play sports.

We wrote a ton of generalizations on index cards and gave them to the kids. Their job was to present them to the GENERAL if they thought they were valid (we had sticky tape in place on the General for the cards) and if they were faulty they placed them in a garbage can.

As each group went up to the board they needed to prove to the General why the statements were valid generalizations.

It might sound silly, but the visual of the general really helped them remember general-izations!


teacher 4th grade

Just wanted to thank you for the information. I'm teaching generalization to my 4th graders this week and was having a lot of trouble coming up with a way to get the point across. Though I have not actually done it yet, I think your visual will really help my students. Thanks for the idea!


Senior Member

That is a wonderful idea! I'm very visual myself and can imagine how well this will help! It sounds like if the kids thought the statement was faulty they placed it in the literal trash can. OR Did you also place a picture of the garbage can on the board as well? So the kids could see the difference between the two?:p


Thank you for the suggestions! I'm currently attempting to teach generalizations to my classes. I'm working on a memory game, using notecards that they can flip and turn over. I'm trying to get a good group of generalizations that they can either match with a 'specific statement', which we've been working on as well, or whether the statement is valid or invalid, and how to make it valid. The memory game will work with this well, as would the whole General thing on the board. Thanks!



I loved the idea of writing general on the board and throwing away the statements that weren't general. I also have done an activity where I've cut pictures out of magazines and had students write a generalization about the picture. They did pretty well with it in a whole group setting.


list of generalizations

This lesson sounds great. I'm an instructional coach now, and want to model this lesson. I'm having "brain lock" coming up with a bunch of generalizations. Is there a website I cuold refer to?


New Member
Wow, this sounds great. I am going to try this with my kids. They really do need something fun and interesting to help them remember this concept. I am confident that it will start to stick after this. Thanks!! :)


Teaching Generalization to Second Graders

I wrote a generalization that went along with the story that we were doing and the students had to find the supporting details that went with this genralization. For example, older children have to help their younger brother and sister. then they had to place the generalization in the middle of a chart paper. The studens worked in groups, and using a different colored marker, they had to write one supporting detail from the story. I believe that they really understood what genralization was, after this activity.