Middle School Food Chains: Teaching with Multi-Level Differentiation -…
Middle School Food Chains: Teaching with Multi-Level Differentiation
Step 1: Pre-Assessing Prior Knowledge and Misconceptions
Pre-Assessment Strategy: Modeling a Food Chain
For ELLs and Special Needs Students
The assessment involves pictures and a word bank to help facilitate their ideas. All students will receive these supports, but they will be particularly helpful in accommodating these two groups of students.
Showing an understanding of the main concepts does not require written English skills but at the same time, the assessment will identify vocabulary gaps and misconceptions.
The assessment focuses on the flow of energy within an ecosystem. This focus will highlight if students understand the difference between energy flow and matter cycling.
Step 2: Identifying Groups of Similar Need
Step 3: Differentiated Activities
Group 1: 5 students with comprehension and/or language gaps
Group 2: 12 students with some knowledge but need to develop higher-level thinking skills
Group 3: 5 students who answered most pre-assessment questions correctly
Task: Construct a food web and determine what might happen if one of the organisms is removed.
This group's comprehension and progress will be based on their ability to complete the food web activity and their individual responses about the differences between a food web and a food chain.
This group will focus on the differences between food chains and food webs and the importance of each component within the web.
Task: Construct three food chains to represent the flow of energy within an ecosystem.
This group's comprehension will be assessed based on their food chains, written responses to questions, and their short end of period presentation.
This group will expand on what they already know about food chains, but they will aim to realize that food chains can be interconnected to create an ecosystem-wide food web.
This group will have a focus on building vocabulary while also incorporating kinesthetic methods of learning.
Task: Learn relevant vocabulary terms, build a food chain, and describe the flow of energy through the food chain.
This group will be working directly with the teacher so the teacher will be able to gauge their understanding based on their participation and responses.
Step 4: Evaluating Student Progress