Differentiation Science Lessons

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By Sakina Taher
Last updated on September 26, 2023

Differentiation science is a method of teaching science that considers student needs and aptitudes, then caters to them accordingly by using a variety of teaching styles.

International science students taking notes on what is differentiation in science and looking through a microscope in a lab.

If you plan to pursue a career in a science-related field, working toward a bachelor’s degree will be your first step. The field of science is vast and complex, and requires commitment, learning, and dedication to understand and apply theories in practice and further your knowledge of advanced subject matter. To make sure all students can learn effectively, many US university professors use differentiation science methods in their classes to match student learning styles. 

Read on to learn more about differentiation science, differentiation in the science classroom, differentiation strategies for science, and more, and get a sense of what to expect in science courses at US universities. 

What Is Differentiation in Science?

Differentiation science is a practice incorporating a variety of teaching methods into science curriculum so all students can fully understand the subject material. Curriculum and teaching approaches address that students learn in different ways, and both the curriculum and instruction reflect that diversity. 

Through your degree program, you will encounter people who are visual learners, hands-on learners, reading and writing learners. Some students learn best through one or more of these styles. In differentiation science courses at US universities, it is likely you will experience all types – and sometimes in the same lesson!

When a professor designs their lesson plans, they often bring in different teaching methods so students at all experience levels and learning styles can advance and succeed. 

Why Is Differentiation Science Important?

As pursuing a science degree requires an understanding of advanced and complicated subject matter – with subjects that often change as new discoveries are made – receiving effective guidance from your professor is key to ongoing learning. The inclusiveness of differentiation science directly influences how well students can understand their program material and the field they are studying as a whole.

Matching the correct teaching style with a student’s ideal learning style creates degree holders who can:

  • Build on fundamentals — To learn science, students must have a strong foundation in basic sciences, mathematics, and reading comprehension. They should also have a grasp of analytical thinking, problem solving, and compiling research. Once these basics are set, students are then better prepared to learn from an array of teaching styles that cover more complex scientific concepts and principles.

  • Problem-solve — Students pursuing a science degree learn how to apply advanced scientific ideas to real-world situations. For those who are more used to concrete thinking and theory-based learning, this can be challenging. By learning from a teaching style that encourages you to think independently and apply what you have learned through experimentation and practical sessions, you can improve your skill with logical and systematic problem-solving.

  • Retain and recall essentials — Students must be able to remember a lot of complex information to comprehend scientific concepts. If the instructor’s teaching style is engaging and interactive, students can find it easier to retain information – and build upon what they know to innovate and make new discoveries.

  • Stay motivated — Much of the subject matter in science degree programs can be challenging, but learning from a professor whose teaching methods support and encourage your efforts can be key to your academic success. With this support, students build confidence in picking up new skills, trying out their own ideas, and collaborating with their peers.

At a broad level, science fields examine the structure and conduct of the natural, social, and physical worlds through experimentation and observation. Scientific advancements are essential for innovation, enhancing global developments, and progressing society. Science professors at US universities are likely to be industry professionals with active careers in their areas of expertise, and will provide valuable first-hand knowledge of the field you want to pursue.

With their experience in working with international students like you, US university professors understand your academic challenges and concerns. Your experience may be influenced by your and your fellow students’ needs, additional support required, and how well the cohort understands course material. 

Let’s take a look at the different types of science differentiation you can expect during your US university degree program. 

What Are the Types of Science Differentiation?

There are many differentiation strategies for science, but the main three are:

  • differentiation by outcome

  • differentiation by feedback

  • differentiation by resource 

Let’s take a more detailed look at these three methods. 

Differentiation by Outcome   

This method involves looking at students’ responses to a given activity and evaluating student capabilities, then tailoring teaching methods that support their learning experience. Instead of giving students an assignment with defined outcomes, your professor may provide an activity that offers you the freedom to choose how to show what you you have learned. Students are encouraged to display their creativity, understanding of theoretical concepts, and adaptability. 

Learning activities could include:

  • Multiple templates for projects — Flexible arrangement of research, data, and findings in assignments allow students to learn in a variety of formats. 

  • Presentations — Students show what they’ve learned through presentations (e.g., speeches, displays, hands-on demonstrations).

Through classroom activities, professors can gain insight on which teaching style best suits you and whether you have understood the curriculum. Instructors gain an understanding of your aptitude levels, from which they can determine whether to focus on subject fundamentals or move on to more advanced areas of the course.

Differentiation by Feedback

Here, a professor provides feedback to students’ answers, assignments, and projects to improve students’ understanding of scientific concepts. Feedback can be offered through: 

  • One-on-one discussions — Individual feedback with your teacher offers a more tailored approach and provides insights on specific areas of improvement. 

  • Peer review — Reviewing peers’ assignments enables students to compare and learn from each other, gaining new perspectives and approaches.

Professors may choose to sit down and discuss your grade and walk through where you need improvement and guidance. For example, if students are having difficulty balancing equations as part of their chemistry degree, a professor may offer worksheets to some students, while outlining problems step by step on the whiteboard for others. Feedback often supports learning at both an accelerated and individual pace.

Differentiation by Resource

Some students may absorb information through reading and listening, while others gain understanding through videos and other forms of visual aids. With this approach, a topic or subject is presented through many interactive tools and digital applications that cater to diverse learning styles. Students may also benefit from non-traditional resources and mediums including social platforms such as YouTube, online games, or even simulations, including:

Many colleges in the US have specialized labs for students to gain hands-on experience and learn how to put their theoretical learnings into practice. (Shorelight universities offer state-of-the-art campus facilities with a variety of resources and tools to strengthen your knowledge and skills needed to pursue a career in science.)  

What Is the Advantage of Classroom Differentiation in Science?

These methodologies provide an inclusive and engaging learning environment, allowing students to learn in ways that suit them best, and gives professors the opportunity to cover concepts in more creative ways. Most US university professor styles may differ from course to course, providing a diverse learning experience that fosters student academic success.

At US universities, studying science can be dynamic and personalized, making your degree program more enjoyable and rewarding.    

A degree in science enhance your ability to gather, analyze, and test research and data. It widens your problem-solving skills, and ability to apply what you have learned in real-world scenarios. Science-related courses and subjects provide a strong foundation for a better understanding of the environment we live in — and then innovate and shape that very same environment. 

A Shorelight advisor can assist you in finding a science program best suited for your career objectives. Counselors provide research and resources on curriculum and universities, academic support, and other services to set you up for success with your degree program. Start your journey towards a rewarding career in science and learn from expert faculty with support every step of the way!

Reach out to a Shorelight advisor for more information.