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How to Engage Students in Designing and Implementing Lesson Plans

By The Writers at TeacherPop

May 20, 2015

"All Are Teachers, All Are Learners" in Scrabble Letters

In this lesson plan, learn how to assign students into small groups to design their own teaching plans and subsequently teach those lessons to their classmates. It’s great for reinforcing commonly misunderstood topics in a unit and particularly well-suited for the end of the school year. According to the lesson’s author, TFA alum Joanna Smith, “students are extremely creative, and may even create better lesson plans than you with fun games, animated PowerPoints, and cool videos. I also found that my students preferred to listen to and learn from their peers than they did from me by the end of the year.” Smith’s lesson plan was created for a 7th grade math class, but it can be modified for any subject matter and grades 6-12.

Purpose of Lesson

  1. to briefly review several topics from a specific unit
  2. to actively engage students in planning and implementing a teaching lesson

Each group of 3-5 students (depending on class size) will choose one of the topics below and prepare a 5 or 10 minute lesson (depending on class size).

Sample Topics (for 7th grade math; swap in topics for other content areas)

Classifying 3-dimensional objects Classifying 3-dimensional objects by their nets Volume of prisms Volume of cylinders Area vs. Volume 2-D vs. 3-D There are four major components to each lesson that students must complete: planning, instruction, practice, and assessment.


Outline of material to be covered: Students complete a formal outline of the material they would like to cover, this can be from the text or from other sources and will include definitions, explanations, and sample problems. The amount of material covered should be a logical unit of material (not a random or incomplete collection of facts) that can be presented in the time allowed. Lesson Plans: Students create a time schedule to explain in detail what will be happening at what time in the lesson. All lessons should include: five minutes of opening question and instruction (notes, examples, etc.) and five minutes of practice.


Notes: Students should decide how they wish to present their lesson to their fellow students, keeping in mind that we all learn in slightly different ways, through hearing, through seeing, through doing something, through touching something (PowerPoint, demos, smart boards, examples to use at student tables). Push your students to be creative.


Practice Sheet: Students must come up with a way for their fellow students to practice the material they just presented. The standard way is to do a worksheet, but they could also hold a mini-lab or play a game. Again, encourage them to be creative!


Productivity Checklist: Each day, every group member should show that he or she accomplished a task to support the development of the lesson plan.

Presentation: Presentations should be made by all members of the group, but each individual student should be evaluated for the work he or she presents.One way to evaluate students on this project is to assign points to each component (so 30 points for planning, 20 points for practice, 30 points for presentation, etc.), and tally the end results for a final assessment.

For other innovative ways to keep your students engaged during the last few weeks of school, check out Ryan Winn’s blog on Making the Most of Your Time After Testing.

Photo credit: Flickr