Universal Design for Learning: Creating a Learning Environment that Challenges and Engages All Students


Take some time now to answer the following questions. Please note that the IRIS Center does not collect your Assessment responses. If this is a course assignment, you should turn them in to your professor using whatever method he or she requires. If you have trouble answering any of the questions, go back and review the Perspectives & Resources pages in this Module.

  1. Briefly describe Universal Design for Learning. Make sure to include the three principles of UDL.
  2. When they develop goals using the principles of UDL, what is the main thing that teachers need to keep in mind?
  3. Teacher pointing to a mapNext week, Mr. Schlotzsky, an eighth-grade social studies teacher, will begin a chapter on colonial America. He’ll lecture, write notes on the chalkboard, and give his students handouts. To assess their knowledge, Mr. Schlotzsky will ask his students to research colonial America in greater depth on the Internet and to give a three-to-five-minute oral presentation.

    Help Mr. Schlotzsky to evaluate the traditional materials and media he plans to use. For each a) list any potential barriers, and b) suggest UDL solutions.

    Components Barriers UDL Solution
    Lecture/ notes on chalkboard    
    Internet research    
    Oral report     
  1. Imagine that you are a second-grade teacher beginning a unit on plants. Your goal is to teach the students the parts of a plant, making sure to incorporate the three principles of UDL. Using the table below, describe at least two ways you would present the information, assess your students, and maintain their engagement in the subject.
    Learning Goal Know the parts of a plant (roots, stem, flowers, leaves)
  2. Turn a traditional lesson plan into a UDL lesson plan. Choose either of the options below.

    Option 1: If you have previously or are currently teaching, select a lesson plan that you have used. In the table below, record information from the lesson plan in the column labeled “Traditional Lesson Plan.” Next, revise the lesson plan to incorporate UDL principles and record that information in the column titled “UDL Lesson Plan.”

    Traditional Lesson Plan UDL Lesson Plan
    Goal: Goal:
    Focus: Focus:
    Materials: Materials:
    Instruction: Instruction:
    Assessment: Assessment:

    Option 2: Using the table below, help Ms. Hamilton convert the 50-minute traditional lesson about DNA into a lesson that incorporates UDL principles.

    At the beginning of the year, Ms. Hamilton, a tenth-grade biology teacher, collected information about her students’ learning preferences and learning needs. Of her 29 students, 12 prefer to learn visually, 10 prefer to learn through auditory means, and 7 prefer to learn kinestheticly. Additionally, two students struggle with reading and several have difficulty planning and organizing writing assignments.
    Traditional Lesson Plan UDL Lesson Plan
    Goal: The students will read the first three sections of the chapter on DNA in the textbook and turn in handwritten responses to the textbook review questions. Goal:
    Focus: The structure of DNA Focus:
    Materials: Textbook, lecture, PowerPoint presentation, worksheet Materials:


    10:00–10:30 — Whole-group: Teacher summarizes the main ideas for sections 1–3 of the textbook, using a PowerPoint presentation and lecture

    10:30–10:40 — Independent work: Students complete worksheets by labeling diagrams of DNA and writing the definitions for each key word

    10:40–10:50 — Independent work: Students start working on the textbook review questions for these sections and will complete for homework

    Assessment: Review questions will be graded Assessment:
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