Announcing an Outstanding Book on Differentiated Science Education

Dare to Differentiate: Content-Based Enrichment Strategies (Biology) for Upper Elementary and Middle School Science

ISBN 0-910609-41-1


Brendan D. Miller Elizabethtown Area Middle School

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania


Colleen Willard-Holt Pennsylvania State University

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

COST = $18.00 + $1.80 Postage and Handling. Total = $19.80

Written by two experts on gifted education, upper elementary and middle school enrichment, and differentiated science education.

The enrichment materials included in this book have been extensively field tested in middle school biology courses.

Detailed information is presented on how to provide a differentiated science curriculum to gifted students in the regular classroom.

Topics such as Selecting Students for Enrichment, Curriculum Compacting, Assessment of Content Proficiency and Designing an Independent Study Unit are included in the Overview.

Detailed instructional units on Invertebrates and Genetics are presented along with an Independent Study Contract, Daily Progress Log, Evaluation Tables and Questions, Unit Goals, Interdisciplinary Webs, and Differentiated Lesson Plans.

The final section contains an excellent essay on Middle School Programs for Gifted Students by Professor Colleen Willard-Holt. This essay covers basic principles of educating gifted students at the middle school level, the essential qualities of a differentiated middle school program, program checklist for use by administrators and teachers, and tips for parents.

Letter from Brendan Miller

Dear Reader,

This book includes two models of differentiated science units. The book also includes numerous supporting materials for differentiated units such as sample contracts and rubrics. I have developed these models by utilizing strategies that best support content-based subjects (e.g. science) as opposed to skills-based subjects (e.g. math). My desire has been to create a more enriching environment for gifted and talented students within my heterogeneous science classes.

The manuscript for this book was generated as a result of graduate coursework in the area of gifted education under Professor Colleen Willard-Holt. My research on differentiation included the concept of curriculum compacting as advocated by Sally Reis, Joseph Renzulli, and Susan Winebrenner. Based upon my coursework and research, I have developed the enrichment activities contained in this book. I hope that educators will use this book as a model for differentiating their own curriculum to better meet the needs of gifted and talented students within their classes.


Brendan Miller

About the Authors

Brendan Miller is a seventh-grade, life science teacher at Elizabethtown Area Middle School in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology and secondary education from Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania. He has recently earned a Master of Education degree in teaching and curriculum from The Pennsylvania State University in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Brendan is a member of Phi Delta Kappa. Last year, he presented his differentiated units at the Pennsylvania Association of Gifted Education Conference. Brendan lives in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania with his wife, Lori.

Colleen Willard-Holt is an Associate Professor of Education at Penn State Harrisburg, teaching in the undergraduate elementary education program and the graduate Teaching and Curriculum program, including a course on gifted education. Her background in gifted education spans 20 years and several different roles. She spent 5 years as a K-12 gifted teacher/coordinator in two states in the Midwest. For the past 10 years she has served as a teacher educator and administrator trainer in gifted education. She also consults with school districts, parents, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education on the subject of gifted education.

Table of Contents


I. Invertebrate Unit

A. Overview of the Enrichment Unit

B. Management Considerations

C. Contents of the Regular Invertebrate Unit

D. Selecting Students for Enrichment

E. Curriculum Compacting

F. Test of Content Proficiency

G. Teacher-selected Independent Study Project

H. Student-selected Independent Study Project

I. Conclusion

J. Appendices

Appendix A: Life Science Application for Independent Study

Appendix B: Guided Worksheet Packet

Appendix C: Independent Study Contract

Appendix D: Daily Progress Log

Appendix E: Master Tracking Sheet

Appendix F: Evaluation of Independent Study

Appendix G: Invertebrate Research Guide

Appendix H: Invertebrate Project Rubric

Appendix I: Topic Menu

Appendix J: Project Menu

Appendix K: Evaluation of Student-selected Project

Appendix L: Evaluation of Independent Study - Compacted Curriculum

II. Genetics Unit

A. Overview of the Enrichment Unit

B. Management Considerations

C. Unit Goals

D. Interdisciplinary Webs

E. Generalizations

F. Genetics Outline

G. Content Process Grid

H. Differentiated Lesson Plans

J. Appendices

Appendix A: Contract for Enrichment

Appendix B: Evaluation Form

III. References

IV. Middle School Programs for Gifted Students

V. About the Authors

COST = $18.00 + $1.80 Postage and Handling. Total = $19.80




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