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Learning Stations

Page history last edited by Tricia Lazzaro 12 years, 8 months ago

Learning Centers


Centers are different from stations in that centers are distinct while stations work in concert with each other.  A learning center is a classroom area that contains a collection of activities or materials designed to teach, reinforce, or extend a particular skill or concept.  An interest center is designed to motivate student’s exploration of topics in which they have a particular interest.  In general, centers should:

  • Focus on important learning goals
  • Contain materials to promote individual students’ growth towards those goals
  • Use materials and activities addressing a wide range of reading levels, learning profiles, and student interests
  • Include activities that vary from simple to complex, concrete to abstract, structured to open-ended
  • Provide clear directions for students
  • Offer instructions about what the student is to do if they need help
  • Include instructions on what the student should do when he completes a center assignment
  • Use a record keeping system to monitor what students do at the center
  • Include a plan of on-going assessment of student growth in the class in general, which will lead to adjustments in center tasks.


Learning Stations:


Stations refer to spots where students work on different tasks simultaneous in a classroom and then rotate through them to learn content/skills related to a topic. Students might skip stations if they know the material or some stations might have tasks designed for advanced students only.

strategy is based on the work of Carol Ann Tomlinson. She differentiates between centers and stations. Centers are areas in the classroom where students refine a skill or extend a concept. Stations are different places in the classroom where students work on tasks simultaneously, and whose activities are linked.

Math Learning Stations  


During Math stations students do not rotate round-robin style; instead, the teacher carefully plans which students will visit which stations, and when. In this way, the station tasks will support meeting the instructional needs of individual students.

The Teaching Station

Students receive direct instruction from the teacher. Students work at the board or in pairs on the floor or at the table on focus lessons, guided practice, or reteaching opportunities.

Proof Place

Students use concrete or pictorial representations to explain and defend their work. They may work individually or with a partner. When the task is completed, students may fill out “audit cards” to document their work.

Practice Plaza

Students practice with concepts on which they need additional experience. They check their work with a calculator or answer key. Students complete a self-evaluation and leave signed and dated work at the station.

The Shop

Students work with math applications. Mr. Fuddle, who always seems to need help, runs the shop. Items in the shop vary from time to time, as do the tasks. Students leave notes for Mr. Fuddle explaining the problem he has and what he should do to solve it or what he should do next time to avoid the problem. The notes are left in Mr. Fuddle’s mailbox.


  • Math Stations is a strategy for differentiating instruction. Students only need to visit stations that will move them towards mathematical proficiency. All students need dedicated time with the teacher.
  • Use an anchor activity center to manage students who finish early, get stuck, or don’t need to visit any of the stations that day.
  • Build time in at the Teaching Station for you to circulate.
  • Spend time modeling the expectations you have for how students should behave and the types of tasks they will encounter at each station.
  • Collaborate with your colleagues to develop tasks for review, practice, enrichment, and acceleration.
  • Think big, start small, and go for the easy win.

What would a math block look like?

  • Whole-class warm-up
  • Review station assignments made based on pre-assessment
  • Pull a group to the teacher’s station for a structured focus lesson.
  • Other students work at their stations. You move around to monitor their progress when students at the teacher’s station are working in pairs or independently.
  • Whole-class closure activity.
  • Whole-class warm-up
  • On-grade-level focus lesson for most of the class
  • Above-grade-level students work on an anchor
  • After focus lesson, students refine their understanding at a specific station or through an anchor activity
  • Above-grade-level students receive their focus lesson at the teacher’s station.
  • Whole-class closure activity.

Source:  http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/enriched/giftedprograms/mathstations.shtm

Subject  Grade  Example  Technology 
Math, Science     



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