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Above Image: One student inspects a tomato plant with a magnifying glass while another records data

What is it?

The Sequence Organizer learning strategy is used to help students record data or observations that occur in steps or stages such as a process or cycle (e.g., life cycle of a plant, etc.).

Why use it?

  • To support the development of skills related to recording and organizing observations or data in order to depict sequential processes or cycles
  • To provide students with an organizational tool for recording observations and data.
  • To support the use of appropriate vocabulary when explaining or describing sequences.
  • To help students understand the sequence (linear or cyclical) of steps, stages or events such as seasons, life cycles, the water cycle, carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, etc.

How do I use it?

  • Before using this strategy, introduce its purpose to the students and provide a structured example to teach and model expected behaviours.
  • Choose a process, procedure, cycle or event that involves multiple steps or stages.
  • Model how the steps or stages could be represented using images or words (e.g., stages in a plant’s or animal’s life cycle, etc.) to show their progression.
  • Provide students with Sequence Organizer template and have them use drawings and/or words to fill in the blank spaces on the template. Templates could be completed individually or in small groups.
  • Alternatively, prepare predetermined steps/stages on cards or on an interactive whiteboard in the form of images or words and have students work in groups to arrange the images or words into what their group thinks is an appropriate sequence.
  • Encourage students to use appropriate vocabulary to describe their sequences to other groups or the whole class.
  • Students could compare their sequences with others and rethink if and how they might change the order of the steps/stages.
  • If relevant, have students identify whether there is a pattern to their sequences.

Tips for Success

  • Start by exposing students to sequences that they are familiar with and that are not overly complex.
  • Prompt students with questions to help them explain their sequences.

Variations

  • Each student could physically move with his/her card/self-sticking adhesive note to form the group’s sequence.
  • Place sheets of chart paper around the room, each representing a particular sequence. Randomly place self-sticking adhesive note cards, with the events of the sequence, on the chart paper. Assign a group of students to each station and have the students work collaboratively to organize the events into the correct sequence. Afterwards, groups could move from station to station assessing each sequence to determine its accuracy.
  • Have students use their sequence organizers to make predictions about if and/or how the sequences could continue.

Tools and Templates

Sequence Organizer – Template – Tomato Life Cycle pdf

Sequence Organizer – Answer Key – Tomato Life Cycle pdf

Sequence Organizer - Template - Cycle Sequence pdf doc

Sequence Organizer - Template - Linear Sequence pdf doc

Adapted from IdeaPark by Let’s Talk Science.