Accessing Prior Knowledge

Why is it important for students to access their prior knowledge?  As teachers we want to get them thinking about what they have learned in the past about a specific topic.  This may be something they’ve learned in school, at home, at work, etc. When this happens, they can more easily connect what they already know to what you are learning in the class.  It makes learning the content seem easier if they’ve had experiences with it and already know something about it. It’s our job to help them recall this information so that they can build on their prior knowledge.

How do we help students access their prior knowledge?  Anything teachers can do to get the learners thinking about the topic and what they’ve learned about it in the past will be helpful to them.  Sometimes people use anchor charts, like a KWL (What do I know, what do I want to know, what did I learn) chart,  brainstorm as a group, take a survey, or set up stations that utilize the prior knowledge.

I’ve created a matching activity that can be used to access prior knowledge using the Key Terms from the Modern and Historical Governments lesson in the Civics and Government unit of the Social Studies module in i-Pathways.  Here is a link to the document for the activity described in this video.   Enjoy and let us know how it goes for you!

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