Lesson Plans to Accompany Published Tasks

This is a guest post by Morgan Saxby, a fifth grade teacher in Chesterfield County, Virginia, who works with Illustrative Mathematics.  Morgan has begun writing lesson plans to accompany published mathematics tasks.

A clear step after developing high-quality mathematical tasks is to develop accompanying lesson plans.  I wrote seven lesson plans to accompany published tasks, all of which I tested in my classroom.  My goal was to write lesson plans that guided students to the level of thinking required by both the standards and the practices.

One example is the lesson plan for the task What is a Trapezoid?, aligned to standard 5.G.B.4.  A student who is able to successfully complete the task not only knows the relevant content, but can also skillfully construct viable mathematical arguments (Practice 3).  The obvious question to teachers is, “How do we get students there?”  The lesson plan Plane Figure Court is one possible way.  In it, students serve as “lawyers,” charged with proving or disproving a particular mathematical statement.  For example, the statement, “A square is a rhombus” has a lawyer arguing that this is true, and a lawyer arguing that this is false.  I required that students create justifications, even if they knew their justification was wrong.  The other students (the jury) decided the case based on the mathematical arguments made, not on what they thought was correct.  My end goal here was to help students to recognize valid (e.g., a square is a rhombus because it has four congruent sides) and invalid mathematical arguments (e.g., a square is a rhombus, because if you turn it a little it looks like one).

The format for the lesson plans is consistent through each one.  The first section includes the objective(s), an overview, and the standards to which the lesson are aligned. The second section includes a detailed lesson plan, as well as suggestions for assessment and differentiation.  The third section includes commentary and relevant attachments, such as worksheets or diagrams.  Some lesson plans, like Cooking Time 1, include student work.

The initial seven lesson plans are listed below, and others will be added in the future.  Tasks with lesson plans will be tagged “Lesson Plan Included”, and are accessible under the “Resources” heading.

5.NF How Much Pie? / Cooking Time 1

5.NF How many servings of oatmeal? / Cooking Time 2

5.NF Making Cookies / Cooking Time 3

5.NF Salad Dressing / Cooking Time 4

5.OA Video Game Scores / The Order of Operations

5.MD Cari’s Aquarium / What is Volume?

5.G What is a Trapezoid? / Plane Figure Court

We’ve also been working on developing review criteria for lesson plans that develop Illustrative Mathematics tasks into full-blown lessons.  The criteria are available here.

If you’ve taken a look at the lesson plans and the criteria, we’d love to hear your feedback by September 1.

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