This page contains lesson plans that serve as detailed pathways through a variety of lessons. They are useful for teachers at all levels of experience and craftsmanship. They can also be used by principals and coaches as the instructional focus for lesson study. Please help make these better by sharing your learnings in the comment section of each write-up.
I’ve done over 100 lesson studies with teachers. Over the course of that time, I (and the teachers I’ve worked with) have gained a lot of wisdom from our efforts to make engaging and differentiated lessons flow naturally in the classroom so all learners can be successful. You’ll find 3-Act Math lesson structures and lessons using Estimation180, clothesline math, numberless word problems (including data), number talks, and fraction talks resources. We’ve also reworked and opened up textbook problems so that they are more engaging for all learners.
Below, you’ll find a brief description of the lesson, a link to my write-up and analysis of the lesson, and links to any lesson resources you’ll need. While the lesson are broken up by grade bands, many lessons can be easily modified to meet the needs of your students.
This lesson and write-up uses images in a Number Talk to help 1st grade students practice comparing numbers using the words “more” and “fewer.” Then students practice these skills by examining a Numberless Data Problem. 1.MD.4
This Numberless Data Problem lesson and write-up and was created to help 2nd graders learn how to discuss and explore data presented in bar graphs. Without numbers and mathematical structure, students are forced to think, discuss, and collaborate with each other to figure out the story in the data. 2.MD.10
Bright Idea is a fun and compelling lesson by Graham Fletcher in their classrooms to engage their students in exploring addition strategies with regrouping. Here’s my write-up. 2.NBT.5, 2.NBT.6, 2.NBT.9
This Numberless Word Problem lesson was created to help all learners discuss and explore division conceptually. Without numbers, students are forced to think, discuss, and collaborate with each other. 3.OA.1, 3.OA.2, 3.OA.3, 3.OA.4, 3.OA.6
This Knotty Rope lesson is great for 3rd grade students exploring different division strategies for solving a problem. Here’s my write-up. 3.OA.2, 3.OA.3, 3.OA.7
This Sugar Packets lesson asks students to figure out how many sugar packets are in a bottle of Coke by dividing 65 by 4. Here’s my write-up. This lesson can serve as an assessment or a performance task for many of the 3.OA standards. Third graders aren’t asked to work with remainders explicitly, but this lesson has a low enough floor that it is quite accessible for all 3rd graders. There will be a lot of student thinking and talking about the remainder. It’s good stuff. (Note: I think Dan mislabeled this lesson as 6.RP.3. It’s a 3rd or a 4th grade lesson though.)
This write-up offers a lesson plan using Steve Wyborney’s tile images for 3rd grade students. (See my write-up for the images and slide deck we used.) The tile problems are an effective tool to engage students in discourse about their mathematical reasoning about fractions. The lesson also allows teachers to identify existing student misconceptions about partitioning and grouping that often prevent students from understanding how to use the area model to reason about fractions. 3.NF.1
Need to introduce fractions to students in a way that all students can be engaged? Look no further! We used this image from fractiontalks.com to engage 3rd graders in a rich discussion about fractions (3.NF.1, 3.NF.3). The visual and open approach makes this lesson a productive opportunity for all learners. Here’s my write-up.
This Sugar Packets lesson asks students to figure out how many sugar packets are in a bottle of Coke by dividing 65 by 4. This lesson is an effective introduction to remainders and allows for student discovery and meaning-making. Here’s my write-up. This lesson can serve as a pre-assessment/introduction to work with 4.NBT.6 and 4.OA.3 or a review of many of the 3.OA standards. (Note: I think Dan mislabeled this lesson as 6.RP.3. It’s a 3rd or a 4th grade lesson though.)
This Array-Bow lesson asks students to estimate the number of Skittles in a large jar before finding the product of 14 x 78 through a variety of methods. Effective for introducing and/or assessing two-digit by two-digit multiplication (4.NBT.5). Here’s my write-up.
We used this image from fractiontalks.com to engage 4th graders in a rich discussion about how to use 1/2 as a benchmark fraction to compare fractions (4.NF.1, 4.NF.2). The visual and open approach makes this lesson a productive opportunity for all learners. Here’s my write-up.
Looking for a way to make plotting fractions on a number line more tangible to 4th graders? This clothesline lesson is for you! Clothesline math activities are fun for teachers and students! I encourage you to try them out for yourself. Here’s my write-up. You’ll find everything you need to know about this engaging math manipulative in there. 4.NF.1, 4.NF.2
This Makeover of a Textbook Problem opens up exploration and discussion around common factors for 4th graders. 4.OA.4
Looking for a low-floor, conceptually focused and visually driven introductory lesson to help students recognize the need for finding a common denominator? Check out this activity called Black Box 2 and read our write-up for the lesson. 5.NF.1
This Tomato-Tomato lesson is great for all learners to explore decimal division. Here’s my write-up. 5.NBT.6, 5.NBT.7, 6.NS.3
How Much Money is in the Bowl? is a lesson that uses estimation and number sense to let students explore decimal operations to figure out the value of a bowl full of change. Here’s my write-up. 5.NBT.7, 6.NS.3
This engaging learning opportunity is ideal for any 6th (and 7th) grade teachers who are looking for ways to increase student engagement, thinking, and discourse around percents, fractions, and proportional reasoning. It uses this image by Andrew Stadel as a warm-up and the Kool-Aid Kid lesson by Graham Fletcher. 6.RP.A
Looking for a way to make expressions and equations tangible to 6th graders? This clothesline lesson is for you! Clothesline math activities are fun for teachers and students! I encourage you to try them out for yourself. Here’s my write-up. You’ll find everything you need to know about this engaging math manipulative in there. 6.EE.5, 6.EE.7
Here’s a great write up by Jenn Vadnais (@rilesblue) about a Desmos lesson on inequalities for 6th and 7th grade students. You’ll find an excellent analysis of the lesson and a clear instructional pathway that can guide you along. It’s great stuff. 6.EE.5, 6.EE.8
I didn’t conduct this lesson as a part of a lesson study (yet), but here’s a 6th/7th grade 3-Act Lesson about equations and expressions. It restructures Graham Fletcher’s Seesaw 3-Act Math Lesson. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. 6.EE.6, 6.EE.7, 6.EE.9, SMP2
How Did They Make Ms. Pac-Man? is a lesson that leverages Ms. Pac-Man as a way for students to talk about transformations in the coordinate plane. Here’s my write-up. 8.G.1, 8.G.2, 8.G.3, G.CO.6, and a good intro to many other high school geometry standards.