defining features matrix exampleThis activity requires students to categorize concepts according to the presence (+) or absence (-) of important defining features, thereby providing data on their analytic reading and thinking skills. When using this as a Practice Activity, choose a limited number of items or classes of items that are similar enough to confuse your students. Determine what the most important features are that the students must recognize to correctly categorize these items. Make a list of defining features that each category either possesses or does not possess. These must be rather clear-cut in terms of their presence or absence, although the categories may share a limited number of features. Sketch out a matrix with features listed down the left side and categories across the top, or vice versa. Ask students to complete the matrix and provide a time limit for doing so. The following is an example of a Defining Features Matrix: