Sticky Bars in the Science Classroom

As an educator, chances are you’re always looking for great formative assessment ideas. This blog post includes one of our favorites because it’s quick, easy, anonymous, and visually represents student responses.

Formative assessment should be used continuously in the instructional cycle. The results of formative assessment drive instruction and promote learning. It is the measuring stick that tells teachers where they need to go to meet the needs of a specific group of students.

At Scientific Minds, we like anonymous formative assessment strategies because they promote a safe classroom environment. When activities are anonymous, students are free of the fear of being wrong and are more willing to participate and share their thoughts and ideas.

The Sticky Bars activity is from Paige Keeley’s Science Formative Assessment, and we’re willing to bet it will become one of your favorites too! For this activity, you will show the students a multiple-choice question, such as from the Evaluate section of any Scientific Minds lesson. The example below is from our Osmosis Biology lesson.

Give each student a Post-it note, and have them write their answer choice on the front and explain their reasoning on the back. Collect the notes and have a couple of student helpers arrange them on the board, creating a real-time bar graph.

After class, you can use the evidence on the back of each note to gather information about what your students are thinking and plan activities that will address any student misconceptions.

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