ACEI Standard 3.2 - Adaptation to diverse learners
I designed a science unit plan for second grade students. The activities in this unit are based on the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) Scope and Sequence for Science, the Next Generation Science Standards Cross-Cutting Concepts, and Environmental Guidelines for Learning. The theme for the unit, “Plant Diversity,” was selected in order to coordinate with NYCDOE Scope and Sequence Unit 3 for second grade. The unit extends students’ prior knowledge from a social studies lesson on needs and wants. Students will connect their prior knowledge to the science activities. They will learn what plants need in order to live and grow and compare those needs to their own. Additionally, students will explore the anatomy of plants and study the life cycle of plants. The unit concludes with students using their knowledge of plant anatomy and plant needs to grow their own lima beans.
I completely agree with Howard Gardner that, it is a huge mistake “to treat all children as if they were variants of the same individual, and thus to feel justified in teaching them in the same subjects in the same ways” (Teach for America, 2011, p. 147). My Science Unit Plan connects with the ACEI Standard “3.2: Adaptation to diverse learners” (ACEI, 2007). It demonstrates my understanding that all students approach learning differently and have different skills and needs. Each lesson features multiple modifications for diverse learners to ensure that every student is successful. My instruction throughout the unit ensures that all students have access to instruction that is adapted to meet their needs. I set different learning goals for each student that are appropriate for their needs. My instruction is modified to ensure that all students feel challenged and motivated.
My instruction during the Water Investigation lesson (see Appendix B) provides ample learning opportunities for every student. During my instruction, I check for understanding by asking, “What questions do you have?” to assess student learning and identify areas of confusion or uncertainty. I encourage all students to participate in the experiment in a way they are comfortable. For example, some students enjoy participating in class discussions and answering questions, while other students prefer to participate by helping set up the experiment. During the investigation, I have the opportunity to provide additional one-on-one support for students that need addition instruction. Most importantly, I enabled students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding in a way that is best for them. Students were free to work in small groups, pairs, or individually. Working in small groups or pairs is beneficial for English Language Learners.
In the Flower Dissection lesson (see Appendix C), I model each step of the dissection and project it on the Document Camera. Also, projecting the visual diagram of the parts of a flower on the SmartBoard helped support visual-spatial learners. During this activity, students spend time working with their science partners. Having the support of a partner is useful for all students, especially English Language Learners. Students can work on dissecting the flower at their own pace and can discuss their learning with their partners. I also support students’ needs by repeating and breaking down directions for students that need it. When students are working in pairs, I am able to observe and assess student learning based on oral questioning. Additionally I use this time to conference with pairs to check for understanding and provide additional support and instruction.
The Growing Lima Beans lesson (see Appendix D) is an investigation that extends over a three-week period. I support diverse learners by providing a list of sentence starts to help get students started when recording observations. The sentence starts help guide students in what to write and organize their thoughts. Additionally, there are different graphic organizes available for students to use. If they want, students can select a graphic organizer that works best for them and use it sort out their thoughts.
Water Investigation Lesson Plan
Flower Dissection Lesson Plan
Growing Lima Beans Lesson Plan