Here are fifteen universal extension activity ideas that you can use with any free teacher worksheet or printable classroom activity.

Fifteen Universal Extension Activities

1.  What do the students already know about it?

Before you start the lesson ask your students what they already know about the subject on the worksheet.  Use who, what, when, why and how questions as prompts if you need to.  Brainstorm information on the board. Allow lots of time for a conversation to develop and flow and encourage your students to share personal stories that relate.

 2. Make a list of related words.  

How many words can we think of that relate to the subject on the worksheet?  For example a list for the subject of dogs may look like this: teeth, collar, food, water, bowl, lead, puppies, fleas, medicine, treats, bones, nails, spots, skin, wrinkles, whiskers, buckle, eyes, eyelashes, pupil,  nostrils, ears, poodle, competition, tail, patches, biscuits, treats, toys, bed, basket, blanket, chain and flea powder.  

Give your students lots of time to come up with ideas and they will create an ever going list. You could even challenge the class to create a list of 100 words.  If it is not completed by the end of the day then part of homework can be finding more words by talking to family, reading books and looking on the internet. Alternatively see if the list can be completed by the end of the week.

3. Make a list of adjectives

Make a list of adjectives that can be used to describe the subject and elements of it.  This can be a list created together in one sitting or built up over time. The will come in handy later when you use writing prompts or set writing tasks.

4. Find examples of the subject in real-life  

Ask your students where there are examples of the subject in real life. Where do we find it in the classroom, at home, in the shops, in nature, under water or in space?  Where would a bird see it?  What would it look like to them? What would it look like to an ant?

5. Think 2-Dimensional 

How can your students create a two dimensional representation of the printable subject?  Painting, drawing, printing, cut and paste, cartooning, tearing colored paper, self -portraits and wet chalk are all possibilities.  

6. Think 3-Dimensional 

How can your students create a three dimensional representation of the printable subject?  Clay, cardboard layers, cardboard structures, paper mache, sticks and glue, recycled objects, rocks and pebbles, wet sand and pasta and glue are all possibilities.

7. Write a list of questions about the subject  

Ask your students what they would you like to know about the subject on the worksheet? This can be done individually, in small groups or on the board with the class.  

8. Compare other things to the subject  

Use a mix of everyday and extra-ordinary comparisons.  How is it like a cat?  How is it different?  How is it like a singing elephant?  How is it different?  Anything goes.  Invite ideas from the students to stretch their imagination and build mental connections.

9. How do you relate to this subject or idea?  

Get personal and explore how your students feel about the subject on the worksheet and how it relates to them. If it was brought into the classroom how would they respond?  How would their parents respond?  If they could, would they use it in everyday life? How?  If it was given to them would they look after it or get rid of it?  

10. Build a class project around the subject 

Let the students work as a group to create a singular project that explores the ideas around the subject and shows others what they are learning about.  It is even better if it can be used as a resource for future activities.  A notice board filled with images and information, an exploration table, a large piece of artwork, a construction, a collection of words and/or ideas, a collection of student comments (add photos if possible) and a door decoration are all possibilities.

11.  Take it outside 

Explore the subject on the worksheet in the playground or around the school buildings.  Go on a scavenger hunt, create a game, use the extra space to act out ideas, talk in small groups without noise restrictions, draw in chalk on the concrete, take photos or have a class discussion under a tree.

12.  Look at it from a mathematical point of view  

There is always some part of maths that relates well to every subject.  Ask your students how they can employ maths in relation to the subject. Can they use percentages, explore geometry, talk about fractions or use measurements?  Can they create word problems to be solved?

13.  Use writing prompts 

Use writing prompts to get students thinking about the worksheet subject and applying what they have learnt. If you have time each student could have a different prompt and then share what they have written with the class or a small group.

14.  Get dramatic  

Let your students use their bodies and minds to explore the subject. Invite them to create a skit, mini silent movie, dance, monologue,  or conduct an interview with an expert (another student).

15. Create a mind map

Use a large piece of paper to create a mind map of all the information covered on the worksheet. This could be done individually or in small groups.  This can be done in one sitting or over a longer period of time and added to as new things are learnt or discovered.

15 Universal Extension Activities pdf

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