What’s growing in my classroom? Right now I’m teaching English to Korean students of all ages, but science is always on my mind. Earlier this spring my mom and I got together and revamped three of my middle school science card sorting activities. Each activity now has twenty cards with fun artwork that we created ourselves along with a useful student reflection sheet.
My seventh grade science students always enjoyed card sorts, which are especially easy to incorporate into physical science lessons. Students can classify cards into elements, compounds, and mixtures; homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures; and physical and chemical changes.
My students liked card sorts because they could work together with classmates while they used their understanding to classify the cards. It felt like a game. I liked the card sorts because they allowed me to meet the needs of all the students in my class. The card sort was great for my many ELL students because each card had both words and pictures. The kinesthetic learners benefited as well because they could move and arrange the cards. The advanced students could provide rationale for each of their classifications or create their own examples to add to the card sort. Students who needed more practice with the content could work with partners who could explain the material while sorting the cards.
Another thing I liked about using card sorts in my classroom was the versatility. The activity could take as little as five minutes by having students quickly sort the cards and checking their answers. Or the activity could last up to forty-five minutes, which allowed for students to record their answers, explain and defend their classification choices, and answer reflection questions. It was also flexible because it could be used as a unit introduction, a way to practice new material, a quick check of understanding, or a review. The activity could easily turn into a fun class competition by seeing which group correctly sorted the cards the quickest.
Take a look at the physical science card sorts I used in my science classroom.
Thank you ELA Buffet and Desktop Learning Adventures for arranging and including me in this Smorgasbord!