Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Differentiation Tip: Providing Choices

Allowing students to make choices is one of the most effective and easiest ways to differentiate.  There are many ways to provide students with choices.  One way is to give them choice about which problems they want to work.  You could even have the problems marked as easy, medium, and hard.  You can either allow free choice by just saying each student has to work 10 of the given problems, or you could set more parameters.  Such as,  you have to work 4 easy problems, 4 medium problems, and 2 hard problems. 

Unit Rate Stations Activity:

A favorite activity of my students, was when I made problems into stations and let them choose which ones to work.  I might make 20 problems and tape them on the walls around the room.  (Each problem was a station.)  My students would have to work 10 of the 20 problems. 

One year for Halloween we were learning about unit rates.  I went to the Oriental Trading website and downloaded pictures and prices of various items.  I made 25 stations with one picture per page.  My students had to choose 15 items and calculate the unit rate of each.  I had purposely chosen gross items or items that I thought they would like.  They had more fun with this activity than I had even expected.

You could even have students make up their own stations.  Have each student go to a site like Oriental Trading and make and solve 2 problems of their own.  Then combine the problems made and use these as your stations. 

Added Benefit of Using Stations:  Stations get students out of their seats which gets oxygen flowing to the brain.

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