You’ve probably heard time and time again that a big key to student engagement and buy-in is choice. And it’s no wonder! When students have a say in the activity they do or how they show off their knowledge, they can pick what sounds most interesting or appealing to them. This is exactly why I love choice boards for students.
Choice boards are an amazing tool for any middle school science classroom for reviewing key concepts. They give students ownership over their work, can be easily differentiated, and allow for student choice. What’s not to love?
The best part about choice boards? Students can showcase their various talents and interests, all while hitting the standards and mastering objectives. Which is why I love to use choice boards to assess students’ knowledge. Because students are more likely to give the activities on a choice board their all, and you can really see what students know and are struggling with.
How to Assess a Choice Board
When there is a choice involved with activities, being able to assess them can get a little complicated. Luckily, there are some simple ways you can assess students’ knowledge and allow them the freedom to choose.
#1 Use a Rubric
Rubrics not only help you determine how you will assess students, but they give students a clear idea of how they will be graded and what you are looking for. When giving students their choices, but clear on exactly what you will be grading.
For example, what vocabulary they might need to include in their final product, what you want to see in a model, how students should present the information, the number of pages, sizes for a poster, etc. Basically, get super clear on what you expect!
#2 Create Check-Ins
If you want to offer plenty of student choice and leave things open-ended for students, go with the check-in route. Before students get started with their activity or project, I have them check in with me about their plan.
Then, throughout the activity, I walk around the room checking on student work. This way I can easily get students back on track or give them the green light if they are doing well. At the end of the project, I have students hold conferences with me to go over the material and assess their knowledge.
This route will require you to be more hands-on and active, but it can really help you lean into the student choice aspect!
Try Choice Boards
Give choice boards a try with this Science Choice Board Freebie. This choice board can be used for any topic in your middle school science classroom and make for easy stations or early-finisher activities.
It includes activities like making a video, recording a podcast, making a postering, researching a topic, and more! Allow your students to creatively display their knowledge of recent concepts – while also doing something they enjoy.
Want even more middle school science activity ideas? Try creating a gallery walk with task cards! This activity is easy to set up and will give you another use for your task cards.