Summarizing Ideas in a Nutshell
Have you ever been asked to describe your day in a nutshell? You need to summarize what happened in just a few words.
The phrase in a nutshell dates back to 77 AD, when a Roman philosopher claimed that the epic poem The Iliad could fit on a parchment small enough to go inside a walnut shell. This, of course, was an exaggeration, but the idea stuck.
In school, you can use "nutshelling" to quickly summarize things you've learned during class, in a lesson, or for an assignment. A nutshell is a kind of summary. In one sentence, you write the most important idea or part of a topic. You can write nutshell summaries in your notebook or learning log during class or after important lessons.
The signing of the Declaration of Independence in a nutshell:
On July 4, 1776, the delegates of the 2nd Constitutional Congress signed a document that declared America's independence from Great Britain.
The book Hatchet in a nutshell:
A plane crash leaves a boy stranded in a vast wilderness, where he must learn to survive on his own.
The challenge is boiling down the most important parts of the topic in just a few words. One way to do so is to try to answer as many of the 5 W's and H questions as you can in a single sentence.
Your Turn Try out these nutshelling activities.
- In one sentence, summarize the best thing that happened to you this week.
- In one sentence, summarize the most important idea you heard in your last class.
- In one sentence, summarize something you read recently.
- In one sentence, summarize your favorite movie.
- In one sentence, summarize this minilesson.
Summarizing Ideas in a Nutshell by Thoughtful Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at k12.thoughtfullearning.com/minilesson/summarizing-ideas-nutshell.