Conceptual Teaching in Primary Social Studies: Teaching the Primary Three Reader,“Making the Little Red Dot Blue and Brown” in a Conceptual Way, pp. 5 of 10

Generalisations are best taught using inductive teaching approaches although deductive teaching can be applied. Some inductive approaches for teaching generalisations are the Taba Generalisation Strategy (Taba, 1967 in Van Cleaf, 1991, p 228) and generalisation pattern approach by Marzano and Arredondo (1986 in Van Cleaf, 1991, p 229).

For the Taba Generalisation Strategy, pupils are first led to examine the data during an inquiry. They will have to determine which data is relevant to the inquiry questions. The question to ask at this stage would be: What did you find? Next, they will have to relate the data to one another and explain why something happened or why does the relationship exist. Hence, the question to ask would be: Why did such a thing happen or why is there a relationship? Finally, pupils will have to consider the implications of the findings and make inferences. This would encourage them to generalise beyond the information and concept. Questions asked at this final stage could be: What does this mean? What would you conclude?

According to Marzano and Arredondo (1986 in Van Cleaf, 1991, p 229), a generalisation pattern comprises the generalisation (which is a statement about the relationships between two or more concepts) and its supporting statements. Their approach can be applied in lessons where pupils need to read a passage or obtain information from other sources. As they examine their sources, they will need to identify the generalisation and the supporting statements.

An Illustration of Conceptual Teaching in Primary Social Studies

In this section, the lesson plans based on the primary three reader, “Making the Little Red Dot Blue and Brown” are presented to illustrate conceptual teaching in primary social studies. The reader is about a little boy called Ranjit who wrote a letter to Mother Earth to share how people in Singapore play their part in environmental protection through conservation of electricity and water and waste reduction.  

Target Level: Primary 3

Concepts: Impacts, environment, resources, conservation and responsibility


Human actions can have negative impacts on people and the environment.

  • Everyone has a responsibility to protect the environment through conservation of resources.

Prior Knowledge and/or Skills

  • Pupils have learnt about the concept of environment in previous readers such as “Finding Pip a Home” and “Who Cares about One Old Tree?”.
  • Pupils have worked in groups before.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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