A Word to the Teacher
Instructional Strategies
Gateways uses active, varied instructional approaches during the units of study.
Students learn the “whys and hows” of science rather than just the “whats and
whens.” The built-in variety of instructional strategies helps motivate both teachers
and students, while the built-in consistency of the lesson structure provides a
familiar, nonthreatening learning environment.
Strategies for Activating Prior Knowledge
Brainstorming is a process used to generate ideas for individuals or for groups.
There are no “dumb ideas.” Sometimes seemingly foolish ideas serve as a catalyst
for other ideas. Brainstorming is not a debate, and it is not an evaluation of ideas.
The quantity of brainstormed ideas is more important than the quality.
Possible organizational strategies to involve everyone in the process:
Teacher announces that everyone must generate three ideas on three separate
sticky notes. Sticky notes are brought into a small-group discussion; all ideas are
added to the group’s list.
A round-robin session involves every student contributing one idea to a group
listing. Students may have permission to pass after the first round and the session
continues until all group members have passed during a round.
Useful guidelines for brainstorming (Harmin, 1994):
Accept every idea without judgment. Unusual ideas may generate new and

valuable ideas.
Write all ideas as they are offered. No judgment is involved at this point. Keep
open minds during brainstorming.
Generate ideas quickly. High energy and quick pace can lead to creativity and
unusual ideas. If ideas are generated too fast for one recorder, utilize two or more
recorders alternating writing during the process.
Mental Imagery
Research shows that engaging students in the creation of nonlinguistic
representations stimulates and increases activity in the brain. The most direct way to
generate nonlinguistic representation is to simply create a mental picture (Marzano,
Pickering, & Pollock, 2001).
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