Sandwich In-Class Activity

Write the instructions to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

 

Effective instructions are complete and easy to follow. Most instructions include:

title

introduction

definitions

necessary preparations

warnings and precautions

steps

a closing

 

Each section of the instructions except the title and introduction may have its own

heading so that the audience can find needed information quickly.

 

TITLE - The wording of the title informs the audience about the purpose of the

instructions. Center your title on the top of your page, and use capital letters.

 

THE INTRODUCTION - Often serves several functions: it can provide an overview of the

task being explained, give the purpose of the task, explain a process, or encourage

the reader to read and follow the instructions. Your subject and the characteristics of

your audience will determine the information appropriate for your introduction.

 

DEFINITIONS - Let your intended audience be your guide. If you are not 100 percent

certain that your audience will understand a technical term, define it. Give the

definition immediately after using the term for the first time.

 

PREPARATIONS - What will the audience need to do before following the steps? For

example, are certain conditions necessary, such as strong light, a 60- to 70-degree

room temperature, or a dust-free environment, to begin that task? What tools,

equipment, and materials are needed? For written instructions, if more than two are

required, list them down the page. Unless the exact order matters, use bullets

instead of numbers.

 

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS can prevent safety hazards, injuries, ruined materials,

broken equipment, and other problems. It is your responsibility to ensure the safety

of your audience as they follow your instructions.

 

STEPS - Include enough detail to eliminate any confusion about what to do. To test

your instructions, ask a person unfamiliar with the task to read them and offer

feedback. Are there any unexplained gaps or steps that could be interpreted more

than one way? Explain how as well as what to do. In written instructions, steps

presented in a numbered list should describe just one action for each numbered item.

 

THE CLOSING may be needed to tell the audience how to test the results of following

the instructions, to summarize the main steps, or to mention other methods of

carrying out the task. The closing should be brief.

Source: Communicating for Success, Thomson/South-Western, 3rd edition

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