Concept Clarification


An analysis of an abstract concept through investigation of examples and the identification of critical and less critical attributes

Instructional Purpose

To analyze an abstract idea to develop a deeper understanding of its meaning and implication. Abstract ideas and concepts might include, but are not be limited to, heroism, courage, freedom, and patriotism. Identification of critical and less critical attributes will aid in discerning the boundaries or fuzziness of the concepts.




Can be applied to many abstract concepts in social studies and character development. As teachers struggle to help students gain greater understanding of character traits such as heroism, courage, and persistence and social studies concepts such as freedom, patriotism, tolerance, and democracy.


Should not be used with more concrete concept that are more easily understood with other methods


This Design Pattern was authored by Carolyn Carroll and Rick Hoffmann