Appendix E: Differentiation
Throughout the lesson, teachers can differentiate through content, process, product and learning environment according to students' readiness, interest and learning profile. Teachers may incorporate a variety of differentiation strategies to accommodate diverse learning styles.
Activity 1: Eco-Friendly Slideshow
How “eco-friendly” are you? (Engineering Portfolio page 1)
As students watch the slideshow, have them complete a graphic organizer about their eco-friendly actions.
Activity 2: Environmental Issues
Environmental Issues (Engineering Portfolio pages 2 - 3)
This activity can be completed in cooperative groups (jigsaw strategy). Keep in mind the strengths of students as you create both the STEM and expert groups. Divide students into their STEM groups of four. (See Working With STEM Teams.)
Assign each member of the group one of the four environmental issues (Water Pollution, Air Pollution, Landfill Contamination and Global Climate Change). At this point, the groups will split into expert groups. All members who were assigned, for example, Water Pollution, will meet with the other members with the same assignment. Together those members will become experts on water pollution using the links provided in Activity 2 and will complete Engineering Portfolio pages 2 - 3.
When the research is finished, the experts will return to their STEM groups. Each expert should share what he/she learned about the environmental issue. Each member of the STEM team should ensure that they understand the impacts of all the environmental issues. If there are questions that cannot be answered, the STEM member can regroup with their expert group to find the answer.
Choose a Cause (Engineering Portfolio page 5)
Student interest is important to engagement. Consider regrouping students into STEM groups based on the environmental issues that they chose to promote with their T-shirt.
Students may need assistance developing a message to communicate the environmental issue and/or human impact. Discuss with students the importance of messages that evoke strong human emotion. Show students examples of messages to help them brainstorm their own ideas.
Find examples by typing in the name of a nonprofit into your favorite search engine.
Example: “Humane Society T-shirts”
Then, select “images.” The following search terms provide multiple results:
Humane Society; Habitat for Humanity; March of Dimes
Preview the results and choose an example of a persuasive and clever design, as well as one that evokes less emotion. Have students evaluate the designs to decide which ones they think would sell the best.
Do the Research Interactive Activities 4 and 5
Environmental Impact Comparison Chart (Engineering Portfolio page 6)
Model a close reading of the organic cotton paragraph for the entire group or for small groups of students who need extra support. Read the paragraph out loud to the class. Next say, “As we read this time, let’s focus on the positive environmental impact of organic cotton.” Discuss and then have students record the answers in the “Environmental Impact” column. (See Teacher Notes for answers). Before reading the paragraph for the third time, say, “As we read the paragraph again, listen for a negative aspect of growing organic cotton.” Discuss and have students record the answers in the “Other Factors to Consider” column.
For students who may have difficulty, you may wish to limit the number of areas of research required. For example, include the type of dye to be used as a constraint so that students do not need to research that area of eco-friendly T-shirt design.
You may also choose to provide additional vocabulary or reading support for students show need assistance. For more ideas on differentiation, read these tips: Working With Readers at Different Levels (PDF).
- Use ongoing assessments.
- Use flexible grouping.
- Materials are varied if needed.
- Use graphic organizers when needed.
- Be flexible with time in terms of students’ needs.
- Allow multiple options for assignments.
- Value multiple forms of intelligence.
- Scaffold reading.
- Use independent studies.
- Use learning contracts.
- Provide multiple means of engagement.