Universal Design for Learning Revamp- Squishy Circuits & Spanish Lesson

MAET Year 1, Spanish, Squishy Circuits, Universal Design for Learning

Reflecting on my Maker #2 post has made me regret not actually creating a more formal lesson plan rather than just a lesson outline. To truly reflect on which guidelines of Universal Design for Learning I had already included in my lesson, I would have needed to expand my thoughts into a lesson plan template. That being said, my redesign follows including many additions to make this a more thorough and complete lesson plan. You can revisit my original lesson outline at my Maker #2 post.

Maker #2 Re-designed with UDL Lesson Plan

Lesson Overview

Title: “What in the World?” Squishy Circuit Central American Landmarks
Subject: Spanish (Team taught with Science teacher)
Grade Level(s): 4

Unit Description

Essential Question: How does my environment affect who I am?

Students will explore through multiple lessons how the features in their environment impact their daily life and therefore impact their perspectives and practices. Students will learn environment related vocabulary specifically geared toward places in the neighborhood. Students will relate these concepts with Spanish vocabulary to cross-curricular activities pertain to science and social studies concepts.

Lesson Description

Lesson Sub-Unit Essential Question: Which physical and cultural landmarks are unique to Central America and why are they important?

Lesson Sub-Unit Science Essential Questions: How do batteries and wires conduct electricity to a light bulb? What types of materials are conductors of electricity and what materials are not conductors?

State Standards

P.EN.04.51 Demonstrate how electrical energy is transferred and changed through the use of a simple circuit.

P.EN.04.52 Demonstrate magnetic effects in a simple electric circuit.

2.1.N.F.c Describe how daily needs are met within a community or culture in which the language is spoken (housing, shopping, food preparation, transportation, health care, access to public services)

3.1.N.a Reinforce previously learned content knowledge through the target language

4.2.N.a Identify basic target culture practices and compare them to one’s own.

Lesson Goals:
Students will—

1. know basic geographical features of Spanish speaking Central American countries.

2. identify and discuss the features of a unique Central American landmark.

3. demonstrate how electrical energy is transferred and changed through the use of a simple circuit.

4. create an accurate model of a unique Central American landmark using Squishy Circuits kit.

5. analyze the cultural significance of a unique Central American landmark.

6. compare and contrast an American landmark with a Central American landmark.


Anticipatory Set:

Students will receive a sticky note with a famous American landmark on it.  Students will play the Guess Who? game where they may ask only yes or no questions to try and figure out which landmark that person is. They will have five minutes to stand up and try to talk to as many classmates as they can to figure out their landmark.

Introduce and Model New Knowledge:

Students will go through learning goals on their Unit stamp sheet to identify the goals they are working on in this lesson and will be stamped by them when they are accomplished. The teacher will then activate prior knowledge of Central American geography with a familiar map of Central America with highlighted geographical features with blank labels. Students will be given opportunity to fill in knowledge and then pair with another student to find anything they might be missing.

Present students with new information about their specific landmark through an explore at your own pace unique MentorMob learning playlist (where is it, how old is it, what does it look like, why is it special, who goes there, what do people think about it)

  • Included in playlist are
    • multiple images
    • video describing landmark
    • Tweets describing landmark
    • informational texts about landmark

Teacher will model this process with an example American landmark through a MentorMob learning playlist and ask critical thinking questions about the process as she models.

Students will then be presented with the “What in the World?” project rubric outlining project expectations and roles for group members.

Provide Guided Practice:

This portion of the lesson will be team taught with the science teacher. The students will have prior knowledge of circuitry and the teacher will activate this prior knowledge. The science teacher will demonstrate the squishy circuit kit for all students and get input as she models. Students will then have opportunities to work in stations toward mini-play goals using the Squishy Circuits. This also gives students an opportunity to play and brainstorm their ideas physically with the landmark project.

Provide Independent Practice:

After play with Squishy Circuits, students will be put into well-designed groups of four to work on their project. They will begin by working individually using their groups as support to fill in a concept map of necessary information for the design of their landmark. This concept map and their MentorMob learning playlist must be completed and shown to the teacher for guidance before they will be allowed to begin working with the Squishy Circuit kits on their final creation.

Students will have about one and a half class periods following their research to create their squishy circuit landmark with their group. When squishy circuit landmarks are complete, each team must display in the classroom and group members will take turns being tour guides and providing key information outlined on their concept map.


Students will reflect on their Central American landmark project and an American landmark of their choosing and create a Read/Write/Think Compare and Contrast map. Students will share with the teacher who will post to shared website.


Formative/Ongoing Assessment:

Provide ongoing assessment throughout the lesson.

  • Observe and encourage student participation in class discussion, asking and answering questions, and volunteering comments and ideas.
  • Visit students throughout their MentorMob learning playlist, Squishy Circuits practice and team work.
  • Did student’s responses accurately answer the questions?

Summative/End Of Lesson Assessment:

At the end of the lesson, students will be assessed formally using the “What in the World?” project rubric.


This list of materials represents several different media including text, graphics, and video.

  • MentorMob Learning Playlists for different landmarks
  • iPads
  • Squishy Circuits Kits
  • Books on landmarks
  • Images of landmarks

What were you already doing to support UDL? What did you revise to make your lesson better?

As I was reflecting on how I incorporate UDL into my lessons, I got stuck at the difference between differentiation and UDL. I feel that I really focus on offering my students different means of representation, action and engagement on a regular basis but discovered that UDL means that it is designed as part of the curriculum before it is even considered necessary unlike differentiated instruction (Hall, Strangman & Meyer, 2003).

As you can see in my GoogleDoc that contains the UDL Guidelines, I had many aspects of UDL in my initial design but was lacking some key components, which I added in my revamp. I began my revamp this time using the CAST Lesson Plan template examples to make sure that I was addressing each key section.

Since the iPad is a tool that will be available next year for my students use, I used my knowledge about its built in accessibility features to provide all sorts of accommodations for my students. The iPad absolutely offers many features such as VoiceOver, Closed Captioning, Zoom, and Speak Selection which provide options for perception of learning materials in this lesson. My lesson also originally included a learning playlist from MentorMob which is able to include all different sorts of media to make the learning more accessible to all students.

This lesson is rich in options for comprehension. It builds on prior knowledge of Central American geography and circuitry and includes a concept mapping and modeling activity that connects previous knowledge to the new knowledge. This lesson also used multiple actions for students to demonstrate their understanding including experimenting individually and in groups, composing physically their Squishy Circuits, and using a rubric and goal sheet to keep students organized and on track.

Finally, this lesson is also a good example of multiple means of engagement. Students are hooked with the opening activity that involves physical movement and collaboration with peers to solve a problem. Students are focused on a goal and self-regulate with their goal stamp sheet. Students work in collaborative groups with expectations and roles to share skills in the “What in the World?” project. Students are able to make choices throughout the creating process including choosing their landmark. Students can use their project rubric to help determine a process to get the desired end result. I also added the idea of “team teaching” this lesson with a science teacher to really emphasize the cross-curricular connections and engage students in a new way.


CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author.

Hall, T., Strangman, N., & Meyer, A. (2003). Differentiated instruction and implications for UDL implementation. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum. Retrieved [insert date] from http://aim.cast.org/learn/historyarchive/backgroundpapers/differentiated…

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