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Inquiry-based Science for Autistic Learners

A Multimedia Literacy Tool for Students With Autism

Project Report
by Judy Vesel, Project Director, TERC, and Tara Robillard, Senior Researcher, TERC


Session 1 – Try This! Activities

Try This! Activity 1: What is garbage?
  • Activity Format: Thought sentences/prompts with fill in the blank answer sentences
  • Instructions: For this activity students are asked to think about what they throw away at home and at school. Then, using the target word bank provided, they can “fill in the blanks” to describe what they throw away in these two places.
Try This! Activity 2: Where does garbage come from?
  • Activity Format: Fill-in-the blanks
  • Instructions: For this activity students are asked to identify specific places in their home and at school where they throw things away. They use the target word bank provided to complete several sentences about where they throw things away.
Try This! Activity 3: How much garbage do we make?
  • Activity Format: Open Writing
  • Instructions: For this activity students are given a target word bank of words to write about how much trash they think they generate at home and/or at school. You could provide students with one or more questions or topics to guide their writing. Some examples include:

    Do you help take out the trash at home? If not, who does? Write about what you do with your trash and describe who picks it up, where it goes, etc.

    • How many bags of trash do you throw away every day, week, month?
    • Do you think that you throw away more trash at home or at school?
Try This! Activity 4: What is garbage made of
  • Activity Format: Open Response Questions
  • Instructions: For this activity students are asked to answer two questions about which items they think they throw away most of – at home and at school. Students can use the words in the target word bank and add words of their own to construct answers to these two questions. Students should click on the blank provided after each question to answer each question.


There are many ways these activities can be used to assess students’ understanding and monitor their learning as the progress through the unit.

  • Review students’ answer choices or written work with them individually to point out areas where their ideas are expressed clearly and accurately, and identify other areas that might need improvement.
  • Have a group or class discussion about students’ answer choices. This could help students learn from one another about what they throw away, or what their experiences are with trash collection and removal at home at home and at school – paying particular attention to identifying similarities and differences.
  • Have students print and/or save their individual completed activities for you to review. You can then provide feedback and or give a “grade” or “score” as needed.

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