Tackling Testing and Individual Differences Using Station-Rotation

This past November, I had the honor of presenting about blended learning at the National Council for the Social Studies Conference in Austin, Texas.  I was happy to see that there was a great deal of interest in this model of teaching! In my presentation, I differentiated between different models of blended learning and shared how I use the Station-Rotation model in my own classroom.

I have found the Station-Rotation model to be my "go-to" model for blended lesson design.  The essence of the Station-Rotation model is that students rotate between different stations within the classroom walls.  However, as you will see in my example, they can also use flex time to complete some of their learning tasks.  The key to a well-designed, station-rotation lesson is balance.  One of the most helpful resources that I have found in my blended learning journey are a book and blog by Catlin Tucker.  According to Tucker, a strong lesson balances teacher-led stations with online and offline stations.

You might already have ideas for different activities that you could incorporate for each component in your class.  If not, fear not!  Tucker developed an AMAZING document that summarizes different types of activities that could be used to ensure balance.  This blog post is a MUST read if you are thinking of incorporating the station-rotation model in your own class.

One of my favorite uses of the Station-Rotation model, and the one that I shared at NCSS, is for teaching the principles of intelligence and testing.  It is a fun and interactive unit. The students have a lot of experience with, and opinions about, test taking! My stations consisted of the following:

  • EdPuzzle: The students watch an episode from Crash Course Psychology called the "Controversy of Intelligence."  I like EdPuzzle because I can embed questions within the video and I get immediate feedback about student performance.  It also ensures that all of the students actually watch the video!
  • Online Intelligence Tests: The students take an online intelligence test.  They are given three options;  a Mensa screening test, an Emotional Intelligence test or a Multiple Intelligence test. After completing it, they craft a a definition of intelligence based on their test and decide if the it is measuring "intelligence."
  • Intelligence Debate: The students research a theory of intelligence and participate in an online debate with their peers.  I use Canvas as my discussion platform.
  • Free-Response Question: The students complete a free-response question and submit it for formative feedback.  The question was designed to reinforce previously taught concepts, including research design.
  • Podcast: The students listen to a podcast called "G: Unnatural Selection" and participate in an online discussion about genetic engineering.  They are permitted to flex out this period and listen to the podcast elsewhere in the building or at home after school.
  • Retrieval Practice: The students complete a Brain Drain covering the four theories of intelligence covered in the online debate.  You can learn more about the importance of free-recall here.
  • Small Group Discussion: The students meet with me for a small group discussion focused on their definitions of intelligence and experiences with testing.  This is by far my favorite station!  I love hearing from each of the students in such an small setting. 
The students spend approximately 20 minutes at each station, with the exception of the podcast station.   If you would like access to my presentation, and ALL of the resources (!!), click on the blue link below.

 NCSS 2019: Testing and Individual Differences Presentation and Resources

Next year is the 100th NCSS Annual Conference in Washington, DC.  Please consider attending, or even submitting a proposal to present! You will not regret it! You can gain access to all of the psychology presentation materials from this conference, and past conferences, by joining the NCSS Psychology Community.  There is a one-time, lifetime registration fee of $30.   If you are interested in joining, here is the registration information: http://www.ncsspc.com/

I would love to hear your thoughts and questions on this lesson or blended learning in general. Thanks for taking the time to read this post!



  1. Enjoyed your presentation at NCSS; I also teach AP Psych blended (in California). I'm looking at integrating more of a station-rotation model, especially given the COVID-19 impact on what school might look like in the fall. I've avoided online discussions because I struggle with moderating and grading the posts. Do you have any hacks for that, or do you spend countless hours providing feedback on this work? Thanks!

    1. Hi Melinda! I have found that a good LMS makes all the difference. Canvas has a Speedgrader that groups responses together. It becomes more manageable when you don’t have to hunt down each response. I also limit them to once per week. What LMS are you using?


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Modern Classrooms - A Practical Guide

The First Days - Social Distancing Style

Using Cognitive Load Theory to Design Effective Online Instruction