This collection includes resources you may use when teaching this concept to your students.

The key to abstraction is to be able to identify and filter out or ignore the details not necessary to solve the problem. From there, a model (equation, image, word, simulation, etc.) can be developed to represent all the important variables. A variable is a changing value that can be represented by a number, letter, word, blank, image, etc. Often, the value of one variable will determine, or be dependent upon, another. In these examples, you can see how the value of the second variable, or input, is dependent on the value of the first variable or input. Abstraction allows you to create a generic representation of a problem.

 

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Geoshapes

by Janet Pinto

Working with tangrams involves abstracting geometric patterns--using shapes to create other recognizable shapes. This becomes a game at GeoShapes on National Geographic Kids. Challenge your students—who can solve the tangrams problems the fastest? Game: Students use logic and reasoning skills to arrange the geometric shapes of the given angrams—a kind of Chinese puzzle—and create images of animals, people, and more.
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Language is one way to clearly and thoroughly describe the attributes and functions of ordinary everyday objects. In this lesson, students act like the inventor of an everyday object that does not yet exist. Students abstract the essential details, and describe what need would be fulfilled by the new object and how, specifically, it functions. They will then translate the description into a format appropriate for modeling the object in a computer by representing the data in an organized visual format. Pattern recognition will enable them to organize and generalize the description.
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Mad Libs

by Janet Pinto

Who doesn\'t love mad libs?! Mad Libs are another example of abstraction. Instead of specific nouns, verbs and adjectives, a blank is given where any noun, verb or adjective can be placed. The result is grammatically correct sentences with some pretty silly meanings!
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Abstraction

by Janet Pinto

Fun game that helps students understand the concept of abstraction. Great for grades k-5, but would be fun for older students too.
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Changes made to better suit my student\'s needs
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From Code.org: With nothing but paper and markers, students will learn the four steps of computational thinking. After a brief introduction, students should be split into groups where they will have to create directions for other students to draw a specific monster (from a catalog of pre-selected monsters). The entire task must be decomposed, then teams will analyze all monsters in the catalog for patterns, abstract different details from the monsters, then use that information to create an algorithm (directions) for another team to draw a certain monster. Teams will then switch algorithms with another group and draw the monster based on what that algorithm indicates. Is the drawing what the original team intended?
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Candy Dichotomous Key

by Janet Pinto

Student handout for a project: In this project, students create a dichotomous key. Dichotomous keys are tools used by scientists to identify unknown organisms.
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