ERIC Number: EJ781689
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 7
Science, Standards, and Differentiation: It Really Can Be Fun!
Sondergeld, Toni A.; Schultz, Robert A.
Gifted Child Today, v31 n1 p34-40 Win 2008
Teaching in a regular classroom has become more complicated than ever with increased student diversity and pressure to connect learning experiences to educational standards and test preparation. Although teaching to the middle is often what occurs in traditional classrooms to meet required standards, it is neither an appropriate nor meaningful method of instruction for coping with the inclusion of both students who are gifted those who have learning disabilities or other disabling conditions. Differentiation of instruction, although challenging for the classroom teacher, is an effective approach that may resolve egalitarianism in education, where all students receive exactly the same educational experiences rather than "everyone having an equal opportunity to actualize their learning potential." In this article, the authors present and discuss a third-grade differentiated unit on simple machines. The unit, taught over the course of 3 weeks, addressed all four forms of differentiation: (1) content--students learned different material based on their ability level; (2) process--using a hands-on approach to learning or reading from a book based on a student's preference; (3) product--choice in end product to turn in to teacher; and (4) environment--quiet independent study areas and small group work areas. The primary focus of this article is on exploring process differentiation (tiered lessons and options in expressing required learning) in the context of a flexibly grouped learning environment. The authors' goal is to help teachers gain perspective and insight about effective differentiation in elementary classroom settings and that science is a natural means of connecting curriculum to students' lives. (Contains 2 tables, 3 figures and 2 endnotes.)
Descriptors: Independent Study, Gifted, Learning Disabilities, Student Diversity, Science Instruction, Educational Experience, Teaching Methods, Classroom Techniques, Grade 3, Individualized Instruction, Equal Education, Units of Study, Ability Grouping
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3
Authoring Institution: N/A