Educational Resources Lets Talk Science Challenge participants

Concept map on blackboard (Wavebreakmedia, iStockphoto)

Concept map on blackboard

Concept Definition Web

What Is It?

This is an individual strategy which uses a graphic organizer to help students understand the meaning of key concepts.

Why use it?

  • To consolidate learning during reading or viewing new material
  • To give students the opportunity to explain their understanding using specific examples from a text or video
  • To have students develop skills of isolating, processing and reorganizing key information
  • To have students to create visual representations of information which allow the mind 'to see' patterns and relationships between concepts

Tips for success

  • This strategy is best used at the beginning of a unit of study. As the unit progresses, encourage students to refine their webs and reflect upon their learning.
  • This strategy works best with an expository text or video which contains sufficient information about the given concept.

How do I use it?

  • Show students the blank Concept Definition Web Reproducible Template.
  • Discuss the four categories on the web and what they mean; for example:
    • DEFINE: a definition of the concept (What is it?)
    • EXAMPLES OF IT: types of things that fit within that concept or could be described by that concept (Where can I see it? When does it happen?)
    • DESCRIBE IT: essential characteristics of the concept (What does it look like? What does it involve?)
    • RELATE IT: similar or related concepts (What is it similar to?)
Concept Definition Web Reproducible Template
Concept Definition Web Reproducible Template
  • Provide each student with an article to read or video to watch.
  • After reading/viewing either the teacher can provide the students with a concept or the students could individually choose a concept to use with the Concept Definition Web.
  • Using the article or video as a source of information, each student fills in the spaces on the Concept Definition Web template.
  • Students can add to and refine their Concept Definition Webs as they gather more information from other sources.


  • Create a multimedia version of the Concept Definition Web using embedded images and videos to illustrate the concepts.


  • Assign students different concepts and have them create web showing relationships between concepts.


Using this Strategy

Create Your Own Concept Definition Web

Concept Definition Web Reproducible Template (Google doc) (PDF)

Create Your Own Concept Definition Web

Concept Definition Web Reproducible Template (Google doc) (PDF)

Ready-to-Use Concept Definition Webs
Ready-to-Use Concept Definition Webs


Barton, M. L., & Jordan, D. L. (2001). Teaching reading in science: A supplement to the second edition of teaching reading in the content areas teacher's manual. Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.