Throughout the unit and especially after new content, I like to check my students understanding. I do this normally through discussion and I can gauge my student reactions to questions based on how they discuss their learning within these discussions. Usually I quick check the main ideas of lessons or on important concepts that students will need to remember in order to be successful on upcoming lessons.
During this quick check I want to compare our previous learning with facts that were mentioned in an educational science video. To check their understanding, I want students to start by telling about an interesting fact from the video. From here I try to keep the discussion going having students connect to their prior learning and use what they now know. As we discuss students can build upon each other's ideas.
Exit notes are my favorite way to check student learning. I do these when students are leaving the classroom for either a recess, lunch, or at the end of the day. I do these by handing out sticky notes to each student. I then write on the white board or ask the question I want the students to answer onto their sticky note. Sometimes a drawing can be used to demonstrate learning. Students then answer the question and post their sticky to a designated spot in the room. I have my exit note location on the back of the door so students can do this as they leave the classroom.
After the classroom discussion on energy and how it is used, I want student to demonstrate more learning. One area they did not discuss very much was that of a circuit. One girl made a comment about birds sitting on a wire and I want to develop what we know about circuits from this comment. I pass out sticky notes and ask students to draw a circuit on it. I want them to label the energy source and if they think they can add a switch. The diagram will help me distinguish which students understand the circular nature of a circuit and which might need further instruction to understand.