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Differentiated Instructional Strategies for Science, Grades K-8

Differentiated Instructional Strategies for Science, Grades K-8

Science Methods

February 2008 | 200 pages | Corwin

"This book addresses a real area of need and contains an abundant set of strategies."
—Susan Koba, Educational Consultant

"This is an excellent sourcebook for science teachers who are looking for strategies to engage diverse learners."
—Phyllis Milne, Associate Director of School Administration
York County School Division, Yorktown, VA

Help all your students "do" science confidently and successfully!

Preparing students to understand and adapt to the rapid pace of scientific and technological changes is an important educational priority. Using proven strategies for differentiating instruction, authors Gayle H. Gregory and Elizabeth Hammerman provide a blueprint for strengthening science instruction and accommodating students' individual learning styles.

This educator-friendly resource is aligned with national science curriculum standards and includes:

  • Grade-appropriate sample lessons and strategies for inquiry-based, problem-based, and cooperative learning
  • Guidelines for creating performance tasks that have real-world applications
  • Methods for using data-based assessment before, during, and after learning
  • A collection of templates, planners, checklists, and graphic organizers
  • A CD-ROM with reproducibles for classroom instruction

Rich in content and tools, Differential Instructional Strategies for Science, Grades K–8 is the perfect resource to help elementary and middle school students become more creative and engaged thinkers and inquirers.

About the Authors
Differentiated Instruction

Teaching Matters

Clarifying Instructional Goals

Differentiated Instruction in Action

Part I. Effective Science Education
1. Creating a Climate for Differentiated Instruction
A Climate for Learning

A Safe and Enriched Environment

Internet Resources Related to Health and Safety

Natural Learning Systems

Emotional Learning System

Social Learning System

Physical Learning System

Cognitive Learning System

Reflective Learning System

Learning Systems With Links to National Standards

A Planning Guide for Differentiated Instruction

Phases of the Planning Guide

2. Scientific and Technological Literacy for the Twenty-First Century
Scientific Literacy

Science Education Standards

Unifying Concepts and Processes

Process and Thinking Skills in K-8 Science

Dispositions That Underlie Science

Dimensions of Learning

Technological Literacy

Views of Technology

Integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

3. Knowing the Learner
Multicultural Education

Multicultural Education in Science

Gender Equity

Gender Equity in Science

Learning Modalities

Learning and Thinking Styles

Kolb's Learning Styles

McCarthy's 4MAT System

Gregorc's Thinking Styles

Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Eight Intelligences Linked to Science

Sternberg's View of Intelligence

Learning Activities Linked to Intelligences

Strategies for PreAssessment

Assessing Prior Knowledge

Addressing Misconceptions

Pretest of Concepts

Pretest of Skills

Part II. Designing Differentiated Instruction
4. Methods and Effective Practices for Increasing Student Achievement
Methods for Teaching and Learning Science

The Roles of Teachers and Student in Methods

Research-Based Effective Practices

Strategies Linked to Brain Research and Classroom Practices

Science Notebooks as Tools for Learning

Lab Reports


Cooperative Learning

Adjustable Assignments

Curriculum Compacting

5. Strategies for Activating and Engaging
Strategies for Engagement

K-W-L Charts

Discrepant Events

School Site Investigations

Informal Learning Environments

Video Clips

Guest Speakers


Literature in Science

Case Studies

6. Strategies for Acquiring and Exploring
Inquiry Defined

Traditional Versus Inquiry-Based Classrooms

Factors That Support Inquiry and Differentiated Instruction in Science

Environments That Support Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning

Classroom Features

Equipment and Supplies

Management Strategies

Problem-Based Learning

Examples of PBL Topics



Booklets, Posters, and Brochures

Projects at the Primary, Intermediate, and Middle Grade Levels

Science Fair Projects

Product Testing and Survey Research

Science and Technological Design



Examples of Stations at the Primary Grade Level

Example of Stations at the Intermediate Grade Level

Example of Stations at the Middle Grade Level


Structured Centers

Exploratory Centers

Relearning Centers

Assessment for Stations and Centers

Choice Boards

Choice Boards for a Primary Level Study of Animals


Contract for Rocks and Minerals

Choice Board for Activities

Computer-Based Technologies as Tools for Learning

7. Strategies for Explaining, Applying, and Creating Meaning
Group Discussion

Questions for Thinking and Problem Solving

Discussion Starters

Nonlinguistic Representations for K-8 Science


Data Tables and Graphs

Creating Graphs

Bar Graphs

Line Graphs

Circle Graphs

Six Types of Graphic Organizers

Four-Corner Organizer

8. Strategies for Elaborating and Extending Learning
Beyond the Basics

Games That Enhance Learning


Cubing With Questions About the Moon


Analogies and Similes



Similes for a Middle Grade Unit on Cells

9. Strategies for Assessing and Evaluating Learning
Assessment and Evaluation

Assessment Strategies in the Science Classroom

Performance Tasks for Learning and Assessment

Creating Rubrics for Teacher Assessment and Self-Assessment

Holistic Rubrics

Generalized Rubrics

Analytic Rubrics

Planning Differentiated Instruction: The Key to Success

Considerations, Resources, and Strategies for Differentiating Instruction in Science


"Teachers will find techniques to apply in the classroom immediately. The examples are user friendly and easy to understand. There is little doubt that using these strategies will enhance any science classroom."

Jennifer Linrud Sinsel, Fifth-Grade Science Teacher
Wichita Collegiate School, KS

"This book addresses a real area of need and contains an abundant set of strategies."

Susan Koba, Educational Consultant

"This is an excellent sourcebook for science teachers who are looking for strategies to engage diverse learners. The reader can look for a specific topic and find not only support for the strategies but also specific examples of the teaching tools. The charts, strategies, graphics, and rubrics are reader-friendly!"

Phyllis Milne, Associate Director of School Administration
York County School Division, Yorktown, VA

"The book contains a lot of information about national science standards and multiple learning styles, plus good sample units in science and good suggestions for Web sites. The authors are great science teachers who believe wholly in engaging students in the wonder of the natural world."

Marcia LeCompte, Intermediate/MultiageTeacher
Klondike Elementary School, West Lafayette, IN

"The book provides very useful information for implementing differentiated instruction. Its research base plus concrete and useable examples mixes the theory with the practical. Teachers will find this book valuable."

Mandy Frantti, Science Teacher
Munising High School, MI

“An impressively comprehensive collection of student-centered, research-based classroom practices in one slim, well-organized volume. This book would be a valuable resource to teachers in any setting. Preservice teachers are likely to keep it long after the class has ended to revisit management topics such as organizing a science notebook and creating cooperative groups, as well as to use or adapt the science-interest inventory and organizers for explaining and creating meaning. Districts will benefit from the book’s focus on process skills and pedagogy as well as the integration of 21st-century literacy standards with the science content standards. Science specialists, gifted and talented resource teachers, and special educators will all appreciate the book’s approach to high expectations for students, thinking and problem solving, and authentic assessment. The book would also be an excellent book study as part of the development of professional learning communities.”

Teacher Education Materials (TE-MAT) Project
Key features
  • Prepares learners to adapt and adjust to the accelerating pace of change in science and technology
  • Aligned with national curriculum standards for science knowledge and skills
  • Includes a generous collection of templates, planners, checklists, rubrics, and graphic organizers
  • Features sample lessons for grades K–8
  • Provides instructional and assessment strategies for emerging learners, developing learners, and fluent learners at all stages of development
  • By the author of Corwin's best-selling Differentiated Instructional Strategies: One Size Doesn't Fit All
  • Includes a CD-ROM with reproducibles for classroom instruction