Schema is one of those buzzwords you hear all the time in education right now. Schema is background knowledge. It’s all the “stuff” you have in your brain about a particular topic. For example, if I’m learning about the topic of flight, my schema on the topic will be everything I have ever read, listened to, watched, heard of, or seen about flight. It’s kind of like a mental filing cabinet.
My son was reading a non-fiction piece the other day. The topic was the Irish potato famine. As he was reading, he started to wonder aloud if the disease affecting the potatoes was spread through the soil or through the air by insects.
Immediately, I knew he was using his schema. We have been planting potatoes in our family garden for many years. The kids love planting their potatoes and digging them up is just about the favorite day of the summer.