Teaching Science through Gallery Walks

Author:  Kristen Hillert, Secondary Science Specialist

As the school year gets under way and the honeymoon phase starts to fade, the importance of integrating new, exciting strategies becomes more and more important.  Integrating purposeful movement and conversations within the class period increase student engagement.

Gallery Walks can be used in all content areas as a way for students to see each others’ work and possibly evaluate it.  (See the Gallery Walk in action here: http://www.theteachertoolkit.com/index.php/tool/gallery-walk.)

But have you tried using Gallery Walks within the 5E Model as an Explore or Explain activity?  Allow the observations that students make be data that is then analyzed to form conclusions.


Gallery Walk:  5th grade Science example

TEKS: (10) Organisms and environments. The student knows that organisms undergo similar life processes and have structures that help them survive within their environments. The student is expected to:

(C) describe the differences between complete and incomplete metamorphosis of insects.

SET UP:  Each station has a picture of the life cycle of an insect.  There should be at least three examples of incomplete metamorphosis and three examples of complete metamorphosis.  However, the posters should not be labeled as “complete” or “incomplete.” This is something students will discover.

ACTIVITY:  Students rotate between stations and record characteristics of each life cycle including the stages of development.

DEBRIEF:  Students are told that all the organisms they observed can be classified into two types of life cycles and then are given time to sort their observations into two groups.  Students need to explain how they formed the groups.  The teacher then explains the word metamorphosis and introduces the phrases “complete metamorphosis” and “incomplete metamorphosis” and encourages the students to determine which label best fits each group of organisms.


Gallery Walk: 7th grade Science example

TEKS: (6) Matter and energy. The student knows that matter has physical and chemical properties and can undergo physical and chemical changes. The student is expected to:

(A) identify that organic compounds contain carbon and other elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, nitrogen, or sulfur;

SET UP: Each station has a picture of an organic compound with the formula of the compound beneath it.  There is also a periodic table next to the picture that shows elements of the formula highlighted.

ACTIVITY:  Students record the examples of organic compounds and the elements in them at each station.

DEBRIEF: Teacher facilitates a discussion to help students discover the pattern of what organic compounds have in common and what is different between them.


Gallery Walk:  Chemistry example

TEKS: (7) Science concepts. The student knows how atoms form ionic, metallic, and covalent bonds. The student is expected to:

(B) construct electron dot formulas to illustrate ionic and covalent bonds

SET UP:  Round 1 – Each station has a picture of a simple Lewis Dot Structure for a Covalent Compound with bonds represented by dots.  The dots and element symbols are color coded.

Round 2 – Each station has an additional picture added to it that shows the same covalent compound but with lines to represent bonds instead of dots.

Round 3 – New stations are added with pictures of Lewis Dot Structures for Ionic Compounds.  The dots are color coded with the element symbols.

ACTIVITY:  Students rotate between the stations recording observations using the “I notice…” and “I wonder…” sentence stems on sticky notes and leaving them around the posters.

DEBRIEF:  Teacher organizes students’ observations and reads them to the group.  The observations form the foundation for the introduction to Lewis Dot Structures, how they are drawn, what they represent and how ionic and covalent compounds are represented differently.


  • To learn more about this strategy and other engaging ways to allow students to construct their knowledge of chemistry, join us Wednesday,  September 25, 2013 for the workshop:

Targeting the TEKS in High School Science – Chemistry: Chemical Formulas, Bonding and VSEPR (FA1327062). Register at https://ecampus.esc13.net

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