Activity-Based Assessment {w/ iTeachSTEM}

Assessment doesn't always mean a written exam. Assessment should be ongoing throughout every lesson. Simple checks for understanding using white boards, turn and talk, and quick writes.
What exactly IS assessment?
Assessment doesn't always mean a written exam. Assessment should be ongoing throughout every lesson. Simple checks for understanding using white boards, turn and talk, hands-on activities and quick writes.


In my class, I plan lessons that incorporate many types of informal assessment. Students are so engaged in the activities that they often don't realize I'm "gathering data" about what they understand.

My fifth graders usually struggle with differentiating between the various types of symbiotic relationships in an ecosystem. For this reason, we spend an entire week practicing how to tell the difference using a series of real-world examples.

My favorite activity is a simple classification exercise. Students work in small groups to analyze symbiotic pairs and determine which type of relationship is being described. I love seeing students apply what they have learned and engage in really good conversations about each example. They are able to use their interactive notebooks and any class notes as they work.
Assessment doesn't always mean a written exam. Assessment should be ongoing throughout every lesson. Simple checks for understanding using white boards, turn and talk, and quick writes.
Students are provided with a chart to complete as they evaluate each symbiotic pair. They record the names of each organism, whether they benefit, are harmed, are killed, or are unaffected, and then a short justification of their choice. This helps students focus their discussions and holds them accountable for the work during the activity. It also allows me to read their ideas at a later time.
Assessment doesn't always mean a written exam. Assessment should be ongoing throughout every lesson. Simple checks for understanding using white boards, turn and talk, and quick writes.
By the end of class, I am pretty certain who does (or does not) have a clear understanding of each type of symbiotic relationship. And students are fully engaged and having FUN. It's a win-win!
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