Colored Cards to Advocate for Help During a Labster Simulation

Support students to ask for support from their teacher during a Labster simulation by using colored cards
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Colored Cards Introduction for Students

About This Strategy

Using the Colored Cards strategy allows a teacher to consistently monitor students as they work through a Labster simulation and provide support as needed. By displaying a red card when they need immediate assistance from a teacher, a yellow card when they would benefit from assistance but can continue to progress independently through the simulation, and a green card to show that they are successfully progressing through the simulation independently, students can advocate for help when needed, and teachers can quickly monitor student progress. This strategy can be utilized throughout the simulation work time as a way to promote student independence and foster the skills in students to advocate for themselves, while also allowing students to move at their own pace.

Implementation Steps

  1. Assign the Labster simulation that aligns with your learning objective. For guidance, you can reference the standards alignment resource included below.

  2. Copy the red, yellow and green colored cards from the template and provide each student or groups of students with a set of cards. Colored sticky notes could also be used instead of the cards. 

  3. Post the anchor chart and explain to the students that they should use the cards as follows: 

    • Red Card - students should use this card when they are experiencing trouble with the Labster Simulation and need teacher support. 

    • Yellow Card - students should use this card when they are experiencing trouble with the Labster Simulation, but are working through the problems on their own.

    • Green Card - Students should keep this card on their desk if they are successfully working through the Labster simulation independently.  

  4. Instruct students to keep a card always visible on their computer throughout the simulation so that you can monitor their progress and provide support as needed.

  5. Provide personalized support for students who place a red card on their desk. While students are waiting for your support, they should utilize the embedded supports in Labster by using the Lab Pad and looking at the Theory Tab. See the Lab Pad Theory screenshot below for support. 

  6. Keep track of the cards on each students' desk throughout the simulation to reflect on which students needed support and how best to support them in future simulations. 

Teacher Tips

When I used this strategy with Labster's Law of Universal Gravitation: Use gravity to orbit the moon Labster simulation, I made sure to explain the use of the red and green cards to the students at the start of class.  I noticed that many students who displayed red cards needed additional support with some of the math inside the simulation. When the same issue arose more than twice during the simulation, I stopped class and did a quick demo of the math concepts to troubleshoot for the entire class. While it worked well during this simulation, another thing I could have done was work in a small group with all of the students who were struggling with the same math concept. 

Virtual Classroom Modification

Using Colored Cards is an excellent way to monitor the progress of students who are working on the Labster simulation virtually or at a distance. Some ways to support virtual or distance learners include:

  • The students can start off by posting the word "green" in a chat box or utilizing an emoji in zoom such as a "thumbs up". If at any point a student is struggling, they can either post the word "red" in the chat or use a different emoji such as a "thumbs down" to indicate that they need assistance.

  • Periodically ask students to type the words "red," "yellow" or "green" in the chat to monitor their progress. If a student does type the word "red",  you can pull them in a breakout group and provide small group or personalized support.

  • Using a jamboard such as the one below with Red, Yellow, and Green pages,  have students create a post-it note with their name on it and move their sticky note to the appropriate color throughout the simulation.