Unit planning: Cognitive

This section of the site has two purposes.  First, it is here that you will find curriculum related material - particularly, the unit planners and advice on how to address the ATL planners on Managebac if your school is using that program.

Secondly, this section replaces "teacher notes."  For the different components of the curriculum, you will find lesson plans with links to activities on the site that you may find helpful for students to develop an understanding of key concepts as well as critical thinking skills.

Unit plan: Cognitive approach

Below you will find a unit planner for the cognitive approach. The "approach" is divided into two units. Memory is the first unit. This will be taught first and then the biological approach to memory...

LP 1: Intro to memory

This lesson plan is an introduction to the cognitive approach and our first cognitive process to be studied - memory. The following ppt presentation is used to start the lesson. This is an 80-minute...

LP 2: The Multi Store Model

The following lesson introduces the Multi-Store Model of memory. In addition to learning about the model, we explore what is meant by short-term (working) memory and begin a discussion of how cognitive...

LP 3: The working memory model

The following lesson introduces the Working Memory Model. In addition to learning about the model, we explore what is meant by multi-tasking. This lesson takes two to three 80-minute periods.For this...

LP 4: Schema theory

The following lesson introduces the Schema theory - its strengths and limitations. It is also a precursor to the lessons on reconstructive memory and the reliability of cognitive processes. This lesson...

LP 5: Reliability of memory

The goal of this lesson is to explore the reliability of one cognitive process - memory. As part of this, we will look at the reconstructive nature of memory and the research that supports the theory....

LP 6: Effect of emotion on memory

This lesson plan examines the role of emotion on memory. The theory that will be discussed is Flashbulb Memory.This part of the unit will introduce some of the biological concepts that will be discussed...

LP 7: Cultural factors on memory

This lesson plan is for the influence of culture on cognition. This is actually part of the sociocultural approach, but since it is best for students to have an understanding of memory before doing the...

LP 8: Cognition in a digital world (HL only)

This lesson plan is for the HL content area: Cognitive processing in a digital world. Students are required to examine three topics for this extension: The influence of digital technology on cognitive...

LP 1b: Studying thinking

The following lesson introduces the cognitive processes of "thinking" and "decision making." In addition, it will look at how psychologists study these processes, as well as the inherent limitations of...

LP 2b: The Dual Processing model

The following lesson plan looks at the Dual Processing Theory of thinking and decision making. There are several short activities used in this lesson which are all based on Daniel Kahneman's book "Thinking...

LP 3b: Cognitive biases

This final lesson on thinking and decision-making focuses on heuristics - or cognitive biases. The research that is used here can also be used to support the Dual Process Model of thinking and decision...

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Comments 10

Monali Sharma 3 April 2018 - 06:51

Dear John
I have a question regarding the information that needs to be learnt in a study. A lot of studies are replete with data and graphs. When students are required to answer questions, are they supposed to remember all the data and graphs in-depth down to the exact numbers?

Thank you

John Crane 4 April 2018 - 05:19

Dear Monali,

No, that would be a rather high expectation - and a waste of brain cells! Students need to be able to give an outline of the general aim, procedure and findings of a study. They do not need to know exact results.

Monali Sharma 5 April 2018 - 08:33

Thanks John.

Jillian Hoogenhout 21 May 2018 - 22:10

Are there resources for "decision making and thinking" as part of the Cognitive Level of Analysis? Does this need to be covered if I am teaching memory?

John Crane 22 May 2018 - 05:12

Dear Jillian

Yes, you are required to teach thinking and decision-making. There are three lesson plans above - lessons 1a, b and c.

Barbara Caley 7 August 2018 - 16:53

I am hoping for some clarification on an approach to teaching the cognitive content. Your notes indicated that social and cultural effects on memory are not longer assessed in the new curriculum, yet you have included the concept here in the new curriculum unit plan. You did indicate that the effect of culture on memory could be included in the sociocultural unit, though I am not sure where exactly. I could not find a direct connection unless you would include culture and memory as a topic under "Cultural origins of behavior and cognition." I am definitely going for a "less is more" approach. Could you please clarify you thoughts on keeping culture and memory? Thanks, Barb

John Crane 8 August 2018 - 06:46

Dear Barbara

I include it in the cognitive section because it makes more sense here than in the sociocultural approach - however, if you start with cognitive, then you may want to move it to the sociocultural approach. Under the topic "cultural origins of behaviour and cognition", you will see in the content column "culture and its influence on behaviour and cognition." Whenever there is an "and", the examiners can divide it into a single question - so "Discuss culture and its influence on cognition." That would be a valid question.

Barbara Caley 8 August 2018 - 17:12

Thank you, John!

Prya Baumy 1 October 2018 - 07:01

Dear John,

Sorry if I am repeating a question you have already answered but the 3 last lessons included in the unit planning - studying thinking, dual processing model and cognitive biases have to be taught even if memory is taught in depth? If yes, why do they appear as L1b, L2b, L 3b ??

And can I tackle cognitive biases then immediately after memory reconstruction ... ?

John Crane 2 October 2018 - 05:09

Dear Prya

They are only numbered differently to differentiate between the two cognitive processes - also, because you will see that I teach the biology of memory before I teach decision making. And yes, it is required that you teach decision making. It is not required that you teach the emotional effects on decision making. You could, of course, teach the lessons in any order that you like.