In Grade 9 science I decided to give students different options for learning a topic on atomic theory. They could either read through some of the textbook and answer chapter questions, they could go through their workbook, or they could use the textbook and some library books and put together a concept map.
Once this task was finished, I checked each student’s work and asked them a few questions. That was the formative assessment part of the lesson. Once everything was good, each student had an assessment activity to complete. For this, they had to do a cartoon, play or short story which features Dalton, Thomson, Rutherford and Bohr, discussing their theories. The idea was that by creating a dialogue, the students would have to synthesize their new knowledge into their own words, rather than copy sentences from another text.
I’ll see how the assessment goes. In the meantime, check out the concept map posted above. That was done by a student who says he’d never done one before. I gave him only minimal instruction on concept mapping and had shown him a few exemplars. I’m super impressed!