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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Formulate Generalization Skills

Formulate Generalization

1 • Why Learn This Skill?
Sometimes the same kind of event happens to you over and over again. When this occurs, you can make a general statement about the cause or the effect of the event.

For example, suppose you usually had a good breakfast in the morning. Three times, though, you skipped breakfast. On those days you did not seem to have enough energy. Based on your experiences, you could make this general statement:

Whenever you don't have a good breakfast, you feel tired all day.

This kind of statement is called a generalization. A generalization is a summary statement made about a group of related ideas. By making generalizations you can describe events or relationships and tell how they are alike.

Generalizations can be true, but they can also be false. A true generalization is based on a list of facts. False generalizations are based on an incomplete list of facts.

Generalizations are useful because they can treat many ideas as one simple idea. They may also find similarities in ideas that at first seem different. Suppose that you stayed up late and were too tired the next day to do your best on a science test. Your friend, kept awake by noise, did poorly in math that same day.

On the surface these examples seem different because they are about different problems. Both have something in common, though. In each case a student didn't get enough sleep and didn't do his or her best work at school. You could make a generalization and say, People don't do their best work when they haven't had enough sleep.

2.    Remember What You Have Read
Soon you will have a chance to write a generalization based on what you read about in Skara Brae: The Story of a Prehistoric Village. To prepare for writing a generalization about what you have read, answer these questions:

•    What materials did the people of Skara Brae use to build houses? Where did they get those materials?
•    What did they eat at first? Where did they get that food?
•    What did they use as fuel? Where did they get that fuel?

3.    Understand the Process
To formulate a generalization, use the following steps:
  1. List the facts or events.
  2. Think about how the facts or events are alike.
  3. Write a sentence that makes a general statement linking the facts or events.
  4. Test your generalization. Make sure it is true for most things that might happen.

Now look at your answers from Remember What You Have Read. Think about ways in which all your answers are related. Then following the steps on page 80, think of a generalization that explains how the people of Skara Brae met their basic needs. Your generalization might be: People in simple societies met their basic needs by using materials from the environment around them.

4.    Think and Apply
How do people today meet their basic needs? How do they get housing materials, food, and fuel? Develop a generalization based on these questions. Test your generalization to make sure it is true. Discuss your generalization with those developed by other students.


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