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Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds I organise my groups according to where I had assessed them and they’d assessed themselves. So groupings for PACE are very fluid. They don’t remain the same. It does entirely depend on how that child has done. So you might find a child that’s very able with mental recall and addition and subtraction may not be in the Extend group, for example, if we were working on shape, and they’re not quite so confident. So that, yes, the groups are very fluid and change constantly. Choose it! Did you choose a strategy to find your answer? Did you use a number line, draw it, or use objects? Tai’jhan, why are you not sure?

Skip to 1 minute and 2 seconds I didn’t use objects, and I forgot to use my number line, as well. So you didn’t use objects. You forgot to use the number line. So how did you work how your answers to your doubles? Fingers? Brilliant! That’s OK! I haven’t got fingers on there, but that’s fine. So you chose your own strategy. You chose fingers. Doesn’t matter that it’s not on here. That was good thinking. So my Practise group were practicing adding doubles using objects and also practicing how to prove that they are right by talking through the process. They coped really well with that. And I did notice that my TA had challenged them within their learning, and they’d gone on to work out doubles for larger numbers.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 seconds In my Apply group, they had practised adding doubles previously and had a little bit of mental recall. And they were able to use a number line and also drawing their answer to prove that they were right. So they went on to use words problems to show me that they can apply those skills that I have given them. My Correct group– again, they were practicing doubling. They had done well on previous lessons, but they felt, themselves, that they were unsure and they wanted more practise. And through teacher assessment I could see that was the case. They lacked confidence.

Skip to 2 minutes and 39 seconds So they were able to practise their skills in a different way– and correct my mistakes, which they love to do, to prove that I was wrong. And finally, my Extend group– they were confident with doubling numbers, mentally. They could double numbers to 20 and beyond. They could prove it, using a number line, or prove it by explaining their thinking. So they had an investigation which they fully embraced and did very well on.

Skip to 3 minutes and 13 seconds It’s very important to allow all children to achieve the learning objective in whatever method or strategy you find appropriate for them. So we differentiate so that everyone has a common goal. Some may go on to challenge themselves further by deepening their knowledge and understanding, which is very important. I would like to see them using what they know with doubling to explore halving and sharing– so, the early stages of division. And, again, we go through a similar process. We start with practical investigations of halving and move on to written, using a number line, explaining your thinking, and so on.

Skip to 4 minutes and 19 seconds So, if you were able to do Number 1 but wanted a bit more practise on identifying energy input and output in a Sankey diagram, then your table is over here. This is about interpreting Sankey diagrams. So if you want some more practice on that, come here. Number 2 is about calculating percentage efficiency. If you’d like a bit more practice on that, come here. Number 3, then, is using Sankey diagrams– so, interpreting them and calculating percent efficiency– over here. And Number 4 is drawing Sankey diagrams from scratch, using graph paper. So, based on what you saw on the boards, can you move yourself to either 1, 2, 3, or 4 for me, please? Where are you going to go?

Skip to 5 minutes and 5 seconds You’ve done the challenging one– drawing Sankey diagrams? I’ve done my scale as one block equals one joule. OK. If you were going to calculate percentage efficiency, how would you do that? You would take your useful energy– Mhm. –and divide it by your total energy and then times it by 100. Lovely. Now, if I was to tell you that you’re only allowed a third of a piece of paper and challenged you, what would you do? Um– I’d use one block is, like, 10? OK, so that’s your challenge, then– to see if you can draw them a bit smaller for me, and think about scale. OK?

Flexible grouping and student ownership

The six-minute video above shows Sara and Kate F using quadrants with:

  • Year 1 (5-6 year olds) - segment starts at 0:10
  • Year 10 (14-15 year olds) - segment starts at 4:10

To help the learner, you, as the teacher, need to plan ahead for whatever ‘stumbling block’ may prevent a student engaging with an activity. Differentiation will provide the help they need so that the learner is able to engage with the task.

This might be help:

  • To access the activity (eg keywords)
  • To provide a structure to work through the activity (eg a writing frame or thinking organiser)
  • To strengthen a skill (eg graph construction)

The following tools [DOCX] [PDF] are used in the video and are also shown for ease of reference:

Tool Thumbnail (click on image for bigger version)
PACE quadrant PACE quadrant
PACE self-assessment tool PACE self-assessment tool
Sankey diagram quadrant Sankey diagram quadrant


In the video you see our teachers putting differentiation into action in their classrooms. What you do not see are the steps these two teachers put into action, before this lesson, which enabled differentiation to work so well for them. Sara and Kate talk about this a little in the video.

In order to help you use similar approaches, draw up a list of ideas regarding the planning and preparation that is required for a lesson similar to either Sara’s or Kate’s.

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This video is from the free online course:

Differentiation for Learning

National STEM Learning Centre