Sequence Reconstruction

Sequence reconstruction, sometimes called a strip sequence, allows students to think through a process or chronology by ordering a set of items.

A sequence reconstruction, sometimes called a strip sequence, is a great way to order a process or chronological events. It challenges students to think through why things happen in a particular order and help them better understand the cause and effect realtionship between events.


Prepare sequences to be sorted
  • Prepare a series of statements, diagrams, or items that have some inherent order to them. Examples of subjects that work well with this activity include steps in a scientific pathway or chronological events in a historical time period.

  • Physically cut each statement into a separate piece of paper and place them in an envelope. Make sure each envelope has one copy of each statement. Alternately, you can place the statements on the board labeled alphabetically or numerically so that students can sort them more easily.

  • Alternate options:
    • Leave out one of the steps of a process. Have students not only order events but also identify the missing component.
    • Leave off labels on diagrams. Have students both order the diagrams and generate labels for each.
    • Have additional arrows connecting each sequence. After students have properly ordered the sequence, instruct students to label each arrow with the reaction/event/process that connects the two sequences. This alternate option combines the sequence correction activity with a concept map activity.
    • Have students prepare their own sequences. Each student will then swap his or her hand-made sequences with a classmate. This works very well during a review session.


Distribute sequences
  • Ensure each group of students (or individual student) has a set of sequences to sort

Instruct students to order the sequences
  • This activity works well as a group activity.

  • Circulate around the classroom as this activity is happening to address any questions. Watching students order sequences will also allow you to see which aspects of the process students are struggling with and what topics warrant further explanation


Compare the sequence order between student groups and put the correct answer on the board
  • After each individual or group has completed their sequence, allow students to walk around the classroom to compare their answer to other groups. If possible, have any groups with non-agreeing sequences each defend their order to both address misconceptions as well as reinforce the correct approach

Have a concluding discussion
  • Make sure the class has agreed on the correct sequence order.

  • Have a discussion to address any questions that came up during the activity

Coming soon!