Sticky Bars in the Science Classroom

By Kathy Reeves
07 December, 2016


As an educator, chances are you're always on the lookout for great formative assessment ideas. This blog post includes one of my favorites because it's quick, easy, anonymous, and gives a visual representation of 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 in order to meet the needs of a specific group of students.

I prefer formative assessment strategies that are anonymous 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 I'm 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 of our Science Starters or Science Sidekicks lessons. The example below is from our Biology lesson on osmosis.

Give each of the students 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 as shown, 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.

What is your favorite formative assessment activity? Leave me a note below!

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