Monday, October 19, 2015

More Differentiated Instruction - Parts of the Mealworm

The Animated Step-by-Step™,  Parts of the Mealworm is a great example of an activity that tries to address the challenge of differentiated instruction, while simultaneously promoting peer-peer interactions in a PowerPoint lesson.  The group lesson is basically an introduction to diagramming but it also does a great job of helping students learn and practice the parts of the mealworm in a game-like format.  

To achieve this goal, the velcro receptive learning fun cube  ( is incorporated into the interactive whiteboard lesson (or iPad followup activity using the Microsoft PowerPoint app).  As illustrated below, the learning fun cube can be loaded in a variety of ways to promote a more interactive, game-like structure.

Numbers … students are encouraged to roll the dice (loaded with dual=representation number cards), then name and/or write the label in the corresponding numbered box. As a final step, the student is encouraged to tap the box to hear its spoken label. Was he/she correct?

Colors … children roll the dice (loaded with dual=representation color cards) then name the part corresponding to the color indicated by the roll.  Tap the colored part’s star on the interactive whiteboard and students will hear its corresponding spoken label. Did the student provide the correct verbal label?  

Parts … students roll the dice (loaded with dual=representation mealworm parts) then read the printed word on the card. They must then tap the correct corresponding diagrammed box to hear whether they labeled it correctly. Tapping the box will produce the correct audio label. As an alternative, they can also use the pen tools to print the label in its box. Furthering the idea of differentiated instruction, flip the card to reveal a picture that can be used to confirm or clarify the answer given by the student. 


In general, there is a considerable amount of differentiated instruction that can be achieved by number- or color-coding content. As most AAC students have access to number and color pages in their communication systems, they can be called upon to answer questions when given a field of number or color coded items.

Consider having children work in paired teams … since you are tallying the number of correct answers for each team, you have added value to your lesson by adding a math component.

An added math component rounds out the impact of the activity quite nicely … science content (larva, sensors, thorax, abdomen, legs, head), reading, writing, AAC symbols (if you have a symbol-supported version) … and math!

… ‘til the next post …. (new posts every Monday)

©2015 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator