Concept Definition Web

Education Services / L’équipe des services d’éducation
25 January 2012

Download the .pdf version

What is a Concept Definition Web?

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

How do I use it?

Concept Definition Web
  • Show students the blank Concept Definition Web 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?)
  • 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.

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.


  • 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.


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. Aurora, CO: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Create-Your-Own Concept Definition Web

  • Concept Definition Web Template  [.doc] [.pdf]

Starting Points Using Concept Definition Webs

Completed Concept Definition Web Samples

  • Concept Definition Web Sample: Taste of Heavy Metal [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web Sample: Magnitude 9 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web Sample: Plastination [.pdf]

Ready-to-Use Concept Definition Webs

  • Concept Definition Web: Beauty and the Golden Ratio [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: Cold Weather Sporting Success [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: Diving Deep [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: Dolphin See, Dolphin Do [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: Enzymes-A Fun Introduction [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: Evolution Basics [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: Hollywood Technology [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: How do scientists measure a light year? [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: How does a superconductor work? [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: Laser Beams [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: Lighting up the Night [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: Magnitude 9 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: Ozone Update [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: Plastination [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: Pollution Monitoring Animals [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: Redefining Smarty Pants [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: So, What's your Barcode [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: Sustainable Agriculture [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: A Taste of Heavy Metal [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: What are stem cells? [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: What is Genomics? [.doc] [.pdf]
  • Concept Definition Web: What Stars are in the Constellation Hydra [.doc] [.pdf]

Education Services / L’équipe des services d’éducation

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