3 Tips for Effectively Using Task Cards in Your Secondary Science Classroom

Have you ever used task cards in your lesson?

Whether you answered yes or no to the above question, I’ve got some tips for you!

Tip #1: Use them assess student knowledge, but don’t attach a grade!

These are one of my go to ways to assess student knowledge during a unit. Not only do they get my students up and moving, which you know I’m all about, but task cards serve as a quick and easy way for students to pull from their understanding of a concept and apply it. When we do task cards in my classroom, I don’t tell students that I am not taking it for a grade (because let’s face it, if I told them that then they wouldn’t do it). Instead, there are a couple of ways I handle this so that they will still work diligently to complete the task cards, and I can also formatively assess them at the same time.

One way I accomplish this is by allowing them use their notes to complete the cards and turn in their answer sheet to me to look over. I use this method for newly learned content that I want them to look back over and analyze.

A second way I check their task cards is by self-grading. That’s right, I let them grade their own so that they can see their own areas of weakness. I love using this method right before we test over a topic so students know what they specifically need to study.

Lastly, if I want a super quick way to see where my students are, I use a Google Form for them to input their answer. This can either be short answer or multiple choice. My students (and I) really like to complete the self-checking task cards in which they cannot move forward until they’ve gotten the correct answer. If you are interested in learning how to create self-checking task cards that are perfect for digital learning, click here to get access to my free course!

Tip #2: Place Task Cards into Stations

You know I love to get my students out of their desks as we learn, and one way I do that is through stations. I usually divide my task cards up into 6 stations and place them at each station around the room. Next, students are sent with their lab groups to a station and I set a timer on the board. Typically I allow about 4 minutes per station. When the timer goes off, students rotate and complete the task cards at the next station.

Another way to do this, is to hang the task cards on the walls around your room and allow students to rotate freely to complete each card. You could even make it a race to see who can finish first with all of the correct answers! There are so many ways to be creative with getting your students up and moving.

Tip #3: don’t overthink the questions

When creating your task cards, don’t be too stressed about the questions you ask your students. Go back to the notes you gave in class, and create questions that will have students revisit information from your class discussion. The number of task cards you create for a topic is up to you, however I’ve found a good number of task cards for my students is 18, which comes out to 3 per station. Lastly, create a template! This will save you SO much time when you are creating task cards for each unit.

Don’t feel like reinventing the wheel? I’ve got you covered with lots of task cards that fit right into your Biology Curriculum. Check them out and let me know if I can help you in any way!

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