I was asking myself this same question not too long ago. Then, I discovered that “task cards” is a new term given to an old idea with a little twist. Here are a few ways I had used “task cards” before I knew what they were:
1. Make Flash Cards for individual review or studying in pairs.
2. Cut a worksheet intro strips, pass them out to students. Ask students to answer a question, trade with someone else, and keep going until their answer sheet is full.
3. Write questions on Post-It Notes around the room and have the students circulate as they answer them.
4. Place a few questions or a mini-quiz at each lab station and have student groups race to see which group can answer their questions first.
So, basically a task card is just a question or short problem typed on a card, like a 3 x 5 card or a 1/4 sheet of paper, that students answer. Usually, the card is printed on card stock and then laminated. Students may record answers on an answer sheet or on their own paper and may work on questions one at a time, or several at a time, either individually, in pairs, small groups, or as a whole class.
The best feature of task cards is the flexibility they offer. They work well as warm-ups or bell-ringers to start class, questions-of-the-day, interactive notebook entries, exit passes, work for early finishers, or as flash cards for review when answers are printed on the back of the card. Also, many different types of questions can by used on task cards: multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, definitions, drawing and/or labeling, interpreting graphs or diagrams, listing examples, etc.
A few other benefits to task cards include:
- Allowing students to focus on one topic at a time keeps them from feeling overwhelmed.
- Working in groups keep the class more interactive and interesting for students.
- Kinesthetic learners benefit from getting out of their seats once in a while and moving around the room.
- It just feels like “fun” when you’re working with cute little cards as opposed to a boring worksheet – even if the questions are basically the same.
I recently created some new task card sets for my Genetics Unit:
Each set has 35 cards designed in PowerPoint format. The benefit of this format is the flexible printing options that allow teachers to decide whether to print 1, 2 or 4 slides per page. And, since each card is a slide, they can be projected to the whole class when you want to start a discussion on a new topic, review at the end of a topic, or just do a quick formative assessment.
I also included a PowerPoint Review with answers so, even if your class works on the task cards over several days, you can pull it all together with a whole-class review right before the test. You can even use a “show of hands” strategy to get an idea of how your students are progressing through the content and use that data to inform your instruction.
I’ll be working on Task Cards for my Cells Unit soon, so be sure to check my store for new products or get automatic notifications of new products when you FOLLOW ME on Teachers Pay Teachers.