4 Supplemental Aids for Science

We’ve already written about supplemental aids generally, however this time we’re being more specific by giving you four supplemental aids you can use on the Science STAAR:

  • Blank Graphic Organizers
  • Mnemonic Devices
  • Graphics of Scientific Concepts
  • Formula Triangles

1. A Blank Graphic Organizer Like A Punnett Square

Why choose the Punnett Square? Because the mechanisms of genetics are Reporting Category 2 on the STAAR test and make up 20% of the test. Because of this, your students will be using their knowledge of Gregor Mendel and his monastery pea plants to help them ace their tests.

Punnett squares visually represent Mendel’s rules of heredity, the foundation of genetic science. When we use these in class, the squares will be labeled. On testing day, those labels have to go, but the blank Punnett Square can stay as an allowable supplemental aid.

Good news for your STAAR online Biology test takers: the Punnett Square is an embedded aid!

2. Mnemonic Devices like ROYGBIV or My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos.

Mnemonic devices help your students recall information they learned during class and are allowable as supplemental aids during STAAR testing. You might use the classic ROY G. BIV for the colors of the visible light spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet), or My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos for the order of the planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune).

All you have to remember is, come testing day, your phrase or acronym can’t contain any potential answers. Keep in mind that not all mnemonics are useful, and be sure to check the TEKS to ensure that the mnemonic supports the tested curriculum.

3. Graphics of Scientific Concepts

No matter what you’re teaching in your science class, there’s likely a graphic you use to teach it. Graphics of the water cycle, cell biology, and even plate tectonics can all be used as supplemental aids during STAAR testing. To use these simply remove any identifying labels from the graphic and you’ve got yourself an allowable supplemental aid.

4. Formula Triangles

Formula Triangles represent relationships between variables. For instance, when we teach the relationship of work, force, and distance in a classroom, we’ll frequently use a triangle using the words and the symbols for mathematical operations. These are called Formula Triangles and they represent relationships between variables.

During the STAAR test we can’t use the full words, but can change them to variables W, F, and D. We also have to eliminate the math symbols. Once those are gone, the triangle becomes an allowable supplemental aid!

Gretchen Kehrberg was formerly a Special Education Specialist at Region 13. In addition to her experience at the Education Service Center Region 13, she had ten years of teaching experience. Gretchen is passionate about education and working with teachers to create inclusive learning environments where all students have the opportunity to grow academically, socially, and emotionally.

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