English Learners in STEM: Interactive Graphic Organizer and Mix & Match

English Learners in STEM: Interactive Graphic Organizer and Mix & Match


In this lesson, the teacher models how to make a web interactive graphic organizer for classifying and describing characteristics of a riverbank ecosystem. The students analyze a picture of the ecosystem and consider a series of questions posed by the teacher. Next, the students discuss in pairs/small groups.  The teacher listens in to conversations, capturing student language to model. The students share out afterward to contribute more language/ideas/vocabulary for the Web graphic organizer. Then, the teacher models how to organize the ideas into a web. After the class has created their webs, they take these ideas and terms and complete the mix and match activity.  Using the vocabulary from the lesson in their conversations students deepen their understanding of the terms and key concepts. Structured oral language practice routines help students internalize newly learned language patterns and content-specific vocabulary through multiple opportunities to practice in engaging and supportive settings.

Science is a vocabulary-intense subject that is dependent on students learning new and increasingly complex vocabulary to deepen understanding and help them make connections between and among concepts. The more opportunities students have to interact with the vocabulary, the better they comprehend the concepts.

In this video, the teacher used two strategies to help her students.

  • Interactive Graphic Organizers: graphic organizers that are created by the group and updated throughout the lessons. They can become part of the functional language environment and can be used as resources by students as they listen, speak, read and write. To determine which kind of graphic organizer to use, consider the academic task that’s required of students. For example, use a Flow Chart for sequencing events, Venn diagram for comparing and contrasting, a T-Chart for expressing cause and effect, or a Cluster or Web for classifying and describing characteristics.


  • Mix and Match: students must interact to find a partner who has a corresponding card. The cards could be a picture of something related to what you’re teaching cut in half, a sentence cut in half, word and definition, etc. This is a quick way to get students to interact and talk together about content.

The mix and match cards used in this lesson can be downloaded here.

Mix and Match Cards