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Activity 1.1: Decomposers Unit Pretest (20 min)

Target Student Performance

Students show their initial proficiencies for the overall unit goal: Questioning, investigating, and explaining how decomposers move and change matter and energy as they live and grow.

Resources You Provide

  • Pencils (1 per student, for paper version)

Resources Provided


If you are using the paper version, print one copy of the 1.1 Decomposers Unit Pretest for each student.


1. Describe the unit pretest.

Explain the purpose of the unit pretest to students:

  • It will help you as a teacher understand how students think about what happens when things decay.
  • It will help them think about what they know and what questions they have.


Use the 1.1 Decomposers Unit Pretest to assess students' understanding of digestion, biosynthesis, and cellular respiration in terms of learning progression levels. You should not give your students grades on the pretest or expect your students to know the correct answers. The document 1.1 Assessing the Decomposers Unit Pretest has assessment guidelines, and identifies correct responses and explaining how students’ responses reveal their learning progression levels.

  • Be sure that students are comfortable with the technology that they are using and provide assistance when necessary.
  • If classroom in includes English Language Learners or have other special needs and considerations, you may want to read questions aloud and discuss meaning of questions.
Extending the Learning