UDL/CAST Instructional Plan Analysis

UDL/CAST Instructional Plan Analysis

Lesson Description

Title: Rocks and Their Properties: Day 1

Subject: Science

Grade Level (s): 3 – 5

For this lesson, students will explore the word morphologies of the three basic types of rocks. However, students should know that the basic types of rocks are igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic (Explore model UDL lesson plans, 2011). Similarly, they will explore the rocks to have a mnemonic device for remembering the processes that involved in their formation. Students will also engage in exploring the samples of the three types of rocks and share their findings. Lastly, students will determine if they will require other types of information as they continue to study further about rocks.

Principle 1

The model provides multiple means of representation in the following ways. First, it provides options for perception hence making learning possible for students. The key information about the rocks has been made equally perceptible to all students. The information has been provided in a way that can be adjusted by the students hence allowing them to get the concepts. For example, students are required to use a hand lens to observe the rock types and sketch them. The hand lens reduces the barrier to learning by enlarging the rock so that students can sketch and describe the rock types (Explore model UDL lesson plans, 2011). Students who have a difficulty of seeing can take advantage of the hand lens. Additionally, the model offers different ways of displaying information. For example, the teacher can use PowerPoint slides, blackboard, and overhead projector (Explore model UDL lesson plans, 2011).

The model provides an option for language expression and symbol. Learners have varying backgrounds, knowledge and language; therefore, vocabulary and symbols should be clarified to ensure accessibility for all (Center for Applied Special Technology, 2007). For example, the model explains the key vocabulary that has been used. It vividly explains to the students the meaning of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Lastly, the model lesson provides an option for students to comprehend the concepts. The model allows students to construct knowledge that they will access in the future for decision-making purposes. For example, students have the option to master and know the origin of the three types of rocks, and this will serve as a mnemonic device for them to remember how the rocks were formed (Explore model UDL lesson plans, 2011).

Principle 2

The model provides multiple means of action and expression in the following ways. First, the model provides an option for physical action (CAST, 2011). Besides, it is important if the teacher provides students with materials with which they can interact. Therefore, in the model, students interact with different types of rocks by scratching them with their fingernails. However, they are out to determine the hardness of rocks. Similarly, they can use a penny and fingernails to determine the degree of hardness.

Second, the model lesson provides students with options for expression and communication. Students can express their findings by using multiple means for communication. For example, in the models students can sketch the rocks and write a description of what they see (Explore model UDL lesson plans, 2011). The alternative media for expression reduces the media-specific barriers that students might encounter.

Principle 3

The model provides multiple means of engagement in the following way. First, the model provides an option for recruiting the interest of students. It does so by optimizing the relevance, value and authenticity of the information and activity being carried out (CAST, 2011). Therefore, students will engage in learning when the information being provided is relevant to their interests and goals (CAST, n.d). For example, in the model, the teacher tries to engage students’ curiosity and expectation about rocks by inviting them to participate in ‘thumbs up-thumbs down’ activity (Explore model UDL lesson plans, 2011). The task allows students to participate actively and explore. Also, it is important to create a safe place for learners by minimizing the potential threats and destructions. In the model, the teacher explains that it is important to avoid negative statement so that the whole class can actively participate and focus. Therefore, the teacher should remind students that the activity they are carrying out is not a quiz; it is an informal way to start the discussion on rocks. The explanation of the teacher will motivate students to focus their attention on the activity.


In the model, two strategies serve as a means to motivate learners and they include the following. The first strategy is recruiting the interests of the students by optimizing individual choice and autonomy. The teacher can provide students with a choice to use simple tools to gather information about rocks. Therefore, students will be motivated by the fact that they are going to use common tools to understand the relative hardness of rocks. The second strategy is to optimize the relevance, value and authenticity of the information (Center for Applied Special Technology, 2007). Students are not interested in activities that are not relevant or do not have value. The task provided to students in the model allows for active participation and exploration. Precisely, the teacher can provide learners with thumbs up-thumbs down activity. The activity will motivate them, and the whole class will participate.

Differentiated instructions entail building lessons, teaching materials and using varied approach to ensure that all students learn effectively. Overall, this is how the lesson model portrays differentiated instructions. In the model, the teacher differentiated instruction through the content whereby vocabulary were used and explained. Similarly, the teacher used PowerPoint presentation to highlight and summarize the key information (Explore model UDL lesson plans, 2011). Second, the model depicts differentiated instruction through a process and for this case; visual and interactive assignments were used. Third, the teacher differentiated instruction through products and students were to sketch the types of rocks. Similarly, the model requires students to participate in thumbs up- thumbs down activity. Lastly, the model differentiated instruction through providing safe and convenient learning environment to students. The model requires that students should work in small groups and discuss the assignment given.

After analyzing the UDL instructional plan, my understanding of the lesson model has changed. I have vividly understood the three principles of UDL and how they function in the model.  Also, I have understood how the instructional materials can incorporate UDL principles to ensure that students learn effectively. Lastly, the analysis has helped me evaluate instructional methods used to teach students and how differentiation of instructions has been applied.

I will consider using the following strategy I learned from the lesson model and use it in my class. I will consider using the strategy of recruiting the interests or attention of the learners by ensuring that the information I give them is relevant, authentic and has value. I will ensure that the information provided to them is appropriate for different culture, ethnicity and gender group. The strategy will motivate my students to engage in learning since their interests have been met. Therefore, they will all participate actively and explore the concepts.



Center for Applied Special Technology. (2007). Principles of universal design. Retrieved from http://www.cast.org/library/UDLguidelines/

CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author. Retrieved from http://udlonline.cast.org/page/module1/l134/

CAST. (n.d.). UDL at a glance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDvKnY0g6e4&feature=youtu.be.

Explore model UDL lesson plans. (2011) Retrieved from http://lessonbuilder.cast.org/explore.php

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