Making Quality Science and STEM Instruction Accessible and Equitable for ALL K-6 Students: Employing Differentiation Strategies and Resources to Advance Achievement, Engagement, Assure Inclusivity, and Meet the Unique Needs of ALL Learners
Educators have a mandate to provide quality science/STEM instruction for ALL students, but making instruction accessible to every student presents enormous challenges. In order to teach students with broad ranging abilities and experiences, differentiating science/STEM instruction is imperative. We must differentiate instruction to accommodate the differences in readiness and background knowledge, fluency and facility with English, differences in learning styles, and the broad range of student interests that comprise our schools. Accessibility, inclusivity, and collaboration must be assured for special needs and ELL learners, whose instructional needs can definitely be accommodated with effective differentiation strategies and resources. When teachers differentiate, they enhance learning, creating environments where instruction and assessment are matched to student abilities and needs. Differentiation is an approach involving numerous strategies, while students all access the same curriculum. Content, process, and products can all be differentiated. Students who lack experience and background knowledge can have targeted instruction, to provide hands-on explorations and build knowledge. Likewise, gifted students can extend and expand their science/STEM experiences, keeping them challenged and interested. Presenter will offer strategies and exploration ideas, tiered assignments that increase levels of complexity, instructional grouping and collaboration techniques, and suggest a variety of resources, to enable teachers to advance and evaluate student learning for ALL children. Attendees will actively engage with discourse and exploration of hands-on resources.
Takeaways: 1. Attendees will learn differentiation strategies to engage all learners actively with hands-on explorations, assuring collaboration and accessibility for ALL, incorporating collaborative explorations where students of varying abilities share the learning experience, to advance learning and deepen conceptual understanding and sense-making for all K-6 students.
Donna Knoell (Educational and Technology Consultant: Overland Park, KS)