Articles from the Science Scope Archives: Differentiated Learning

Science Sampler: Success For All Is Just a Heartbeat Away
December 2006
To unlock student understanding and enable a large percentage of the class to successfully complete a full range of inquiry activities, try using the differentiated instruction approach described in this article. Students of varying levels will thrive when their different learning styles are taken into consideration and if classrooms are conducive to a natural learning environment in which students are active learners rather than treated as passive recipients of information.

Helping students read science textbooks and other substantive material does not have to interrupt the flow of content delivery. A variety of strategies, both instructive and effective, are available to help students become more competent and independent readers. The lessons in this article have worked well. They all involve participation and can be easily differentiated to help diverse learners. Unlike the typical chapter quiz, these cooperative strategies have students discussing, interpreting, analyzing, and evaluating the assigned reading in challenging yet supportive ways.

One of the goals of science education is to encourage students to think and reason at increasingly higher levels. In order to accomplish this goal, the authors created a unique form of assessment that not only encourages students to work at the highest critical-thinking level possible, but also allows them creative liberty to express their understandings of the big ideas. This enables all students, including English language learners and special education students, to achieve their potential through the use of peer support and a menu of final projects.