Differentiation for Science

 

Science instruction can be differentiated to allow students to explore topics of interest, expand their research skills, and receive instruction on discrete science and inquiry skills. The chart below offers a variety of strategies that can be used.

 

Strategy

Focus of Differentiation

Example

Tiered assignments

Readiness

Some students are provided with direct instruction on the

characteristics of living vs. non-living things, and are given guidance in identifying members of both groups. Other students work in teams to identify members of both groups and come up with original examples.

Compacting

Readiness

In a science class, students who already know the process of photosynthesis are given a lab assignment in which they must develop and test hypotheses related to the topic, while other students are given more direct instruction on the concept.

Interest Centers or Interest Groups

Readiness

Interest

Interest Centers - Centers can focus on specific topics in Earth Science, such as classifying rocks or carbon dating.

 

Interest Groups - Students can work in small groups to prepare and debate issues surrounding the origin of the universe.

Flexible Grouping*

Readiness

Interest

Learning Profile

The teacher may assign groups based on student characteristics for a lab in which each group member must take on a specific role. For example, a student who is a strong writer might take notes for the group, while a student who enjoys public speaking might present the groupís findings. Students may choose their own groups for another lab in which they will explore the properties of an inanimate object.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning Contracts

Readiness

Learning Profile

A student wants to trace his or her family tree and genetic traits. With the teacherís guidance, the student develops a plan for researching family traits and for learning about genetics. The student decides to make a poster of his or her family tree (with graphics representing genetic traits) to present to the class.

 

Choice Boards

Readiness

Interest

Learning Profile

Students are given a choice board that contains a list of possible activities they can complete to learn about density. The activities include using a water table to explore properties of various objects, reading about density in the textbook, and watching a video with demonstrations centered around density. The activities are based on the following learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile. Students must complete two activities from the board and must choose these activities from two different learning styles.

 

 

 

 

References and Resources

Differentiated Instruction for Science. The Access Center - Improving Outcomes for All Students K - 8. Retrieved November 9, 2005 from: http://www.k8accesscenter.org/training_resources/mathdifferentiation.asp