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Using Science Task Cards in your High School Classroom

Task cards can be a great tool in a teacher’s repertoire of science activities. They are perfect for a classroom review game, practice for early finishers, and formative assessments. If placed around the room, task cards are an easy way to incorporate movement and collaboration in the classroom as students rotate from one card to another. Finally, because task cards provide students with a single review question on each card, your struggling students may feel they are more manageable than a lengthy study guide or review worksheet.

Below we have outlined some common and new ways you may want to try using task cards in your classroom.

Using science task cards in your high school science class

Get kids moving. Scoot! Allows students to start with one task card, answer it, and move to the next when the teacher says “scoot”! This allows students to get up and move during class. Another variation of this is an “Around the Room” game. Task cards are hidden around the room and students must look for them and answer them. If circumstances allow, playing Scoot! outside could be an enjoyable option for students. This is the way I most commonly use task cards in my Environmental Science and Anatomy classrooms.

Bell work or exit ticket. One simple use for task cards is to use them as warm-ups or exit tickets. Project a card up for students to complete at the start or end of a class period. You can also display the cards creatively (ex – hanging from a clothesline) and let students know they have all week to complete all cards and put answers on their answer sheets.

Review or extension rings. Task cards can be laminated, hole-punched, and put on a ring. These rings can be pulled out for review at any time of year or for early finishers to use as extension work.

Task cards earn game plays! Students can work in teams to solve task cards. As they complete them correctly, they can earn moves or pieces in a game. Games such as Connect 4, Candy Land, Trash Can Basketball, or Checkers could work for this! For a partner option, give each pair of students a set of task cards. Students take turns flipping over task cards. If they answer correctly, they get a turn on their board game. Jenga is a fun one for partners! Also, you can check out this free resource: Free game boards to use with your task cards from Minds in Bloom!

Task card relay. Students line up in a single file line facing the board. The teacher reads a card aloud and the students at the front of the line have to come up with an answer quickly and run up to the board and write it under their team name. The teacher puts a check by the one who got the correct answer up first. The questions continue through each person in line and check marks are counted at the end of the game to determine a winner.

Task card jeopardy. Group task cards into themed categories. Then write a point value on the back of each card. Tape the cards to a wall with the point values showing and play a jeopardy review game!

Formative assessment tool. Students can be asked to complete as many task cards as they can from a set in a certain time period. This can be used to find gaps in student understanding.

Science task cards encourage movement in the classroom
Using task cards in a “Scoot” format is an easy way to get students moving.

For more complicated mathematical task cards such as in a chemistry or physics class:

Speed dating. Each student receives a task card that they answer independently. The teacher walks around to check and help correct any misunderstandings in the student’s work. Then students partner up, switch cards, and work the new problem they just received. Each student will help coach the other in how to do the problem he or she first had. After both students have helped explain and correct, they switch cards back. Students may rotate through other classmates with their original task card and solution, teaching, learning and practicing as they go.

Group work. Each group receives the same task card and works out the answer together on a whiteboard for comparison.

Task cards are an easy way to bring additional practice, review, or movement into your high school science classroom. Even if you’ve used task cards before, I hope this list has given you some great new ideas for using science task cards with your classes. If you prefer to use some pre-made cards, these Environmental Science task cards and Anatomy task cards are a perfect no-prep addition you can use right away!

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