Sequencing involves organising things into a chronological or logical order.
Students can sequence
Students can demonstrate a sequence by
- organising picture cards
- organising statement cards
- drawing a series of pictures or patterns
- writing a series of statements
- completing or drawing a flow chart
- completing a number line.
When to use
Sequencing is useful for assessing students' understanding of the links between events or ideas, for example:
- the development of a plot or character
- observations (e.g., a life cycle, moon phases)
- the logical order to write instructions (e.g., a recipe, planning a fair test or statistical investigation)
- identifying patterns (e.g., ordering numbers from biggest to smallest).
The knowledge or skills being used include:
- logical thinking
- visual perception
- mathematical knowledge
- vocabulary knowledge.
- Sequencing is a tool that helps students organise ideas, information, patterns, or unfolding events.
- As they order things, they need to be looking for evidence to support their decisions. The sequence they put together provides evidence of their thinking processes.
- Sequencing provides a framework for considering cause and effect.
How the strategy works
As students carry out sequencing activities they have to think about the logical order of events or patterns. This can provide evidence of:
- their comprehension of aspects of written text
- whether they can link pieces of information
- their ability to recognise patterns.
What to do
- Provide statements, pictures, patterns, or numbers that can be ordered into a logical sequence.
- Put on cards or cut out so students can move them around to experiment with the order.
- Ask students to put in order. The instructions should clearly describe the order expected, such as first to last, biggest to smallest, brightest to darkest.
- Ask students to justify their decisions.
- An alternative is to use a worksheet and number each item. Students put the numbers in the correct sequence. However, this is more difficult for students of all ages.
When interpreting the sequence, look for:
- the logic used to order the parts
- choices made where an alternative is viable
- the degree of correctness. Has one incorrect response influenced other responses?
- whether students can justify their decisions
- the language used when students describe the sequence (e.g., text connectives such as 'To begin …', Secondly …. ', In conclusion …').
- Too many items can make the task too difficult for students.
- Inability to use the language of sequencing may compromise students' ability to describe or recognise a sequence or justify their sequence.
Adapting the strategy
A more difficult alternative is to ask students to identify and describe sequences occurring in a piece of text. This is especially challenging when events are not described sequentially. Students can
- write their own statements in order
- draw a series of pictures or cartoons, e.g., as a storyboard
- draw or complete a flow chart.
Examples of ARB resources that use sequencing
There are many sequencing activities in the ARBs. Below is a selection modelling different ways this strategy can be presented.
To find other resources that involve sequencing use the
keywords sequence or order(ing) in
a search of a curriculum bank (English,
or across all banks (Search
maths resources that use sequencing (ordering).
||Planning a statistical investigation
||Order measurements lightest to heaviest
||Arrange on a number line
||Planning A Fair Test
||Events In A Beech Forest
||Order statements on cards
||Order objects from hardest to softest
science resources that use sequencing.
English Support material
Thinking about how language works provides more in-depth information on connecting and tracking ideas in text.
strategies | ARB