Reflection: Accountability Classifying Living Things - Section 4: Elaborate/Evaluate


In this lesson, Classifying Living Things, I used the Three Stray, One Stay strategy as a way to encourage collaboration and discourse amongst my students. This strategy is an effective approach to facilitate group discussion as students collaborate with one another about a specific topic, question, assessment review, experiment, or assignment. Typically, students move from their own group to another group where they learn about that group’s ideas, thoughts, and/ or way of doing something.  It’s an opportunity for students to develop their own understanding as they listen and discuss with new group members about the concepts presented within the lesson that day. 

The Three Stray, One Stay strategy can be implemented and modified in any way that suits the need of the lesson or purpose of the lesson. I originally came across this strategy and it was named Two Stray, One Stay, however, with the number of students in my class, I adapted it to suit my class size.  As students work on a given task, they are asked to record detail on a recording sheet. Once they finish, they select a group member to go to a different group to learn about that group’s method or approach to the assignment. While visiting another group, they are listening and writing key details on their recording sheet to bring back to their original group and share what they have learned. Meanwhile, with the remaining three students at the original group, one becomes the “teacher” or “leader of the group and leads the discussion with the new member that has strayed to them.  One the strayed students return to their original group, they share what they learned while they were away.  The whole process allows students to collaborate with one another and synthesize information.

I used this strategy after students finished classifying organisms. I handed them a recording sheet to note observations of their own arrangement and from what they learn of other group arrangements in the class. First they discussed as a group and write down key details about the way they classified the organisms.They selected one member to stray to another group to observe, discuss, and write down information they learned while there. When the member left, the remaining members received another group's "strayed" member where they all engaged in a discussion about the classified organisms they had before them. The teacher of the group shared with the "strayed" member how they decided to group their organisms. Some related it to habits, body features, while others arranged them by movement and ecosystems.  In all, I was very impressed with my students. They understood the task and carried it out well.  It made me realize the importance of giving students more opportunity to work together and engage in conversation throuhgout a lesson.

  Accountability: Three Stray, One Stay
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Classifying Living Things

Unit 3: Ecosystems and Interactions
Lesson 3 of 19

Objective: SWBAT identify five reasons for why we classify living things.

Big Idea: Students will explain and justify ways to classify organisms.

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23 teachers like this lesson
Science, classification, Ecosystems, interaction
  60 minutes
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