Is this possible in science?
While this site is generally focused on the application of CbC in math, our journey began in science. It was the dramatic impact on learning and class culture in science classes that made us want to try CbC in math.
The first step we took while developing a tiered system of instruction and assessment in science was to think about the dimensions along which challenge may vary. For example:
Vocabulary – going from green level “need to know” vocabulary to blue level “nice to know” vocabulary to black level “for those of you who are really motivated to go way beyond what’s expected” vocabulary.
Physical Application Complexity – while sometimes no more difficult to conceive on paper, certain experimental questions are far more difficult to carry out in practice.
Sophistication of Presentation – this would involve raising the complexity of non-science performance standards. Writing and technology skills come to mind as areas where students have varying degrees of readiness.
Content Exposure – topics that are repeated and taken much further in high school (like introductory chemistry or genetics units) offer opportunities for highly motivated students to learn advanced content in middle school.
Examples of Tiered Science Assessments
The assessments below have been used with 7th and 8th grade students. I have only seen them used a single time. They aren’t meant to represent examples of best assessment practice in science. My main reason for sharing them is to offer a starting point for teachers eager to give the Challenge by Choice approach a shot in their science classes.
Valid Experimental Design
Introductory Science Skills and Knowledge
Microscopes and Cells