Lesson Plan

Explaining, Sharing and Growing as Mathematicians #WithMathICan

This lesson plan helps students learn to pause and explain their thinking and become comfortable sharing ideas with their peers.
Monica B.
Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, Apple Distinguished Educator
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Students will be able to explain their thinking as they solve a math problem.  Students will be able to work with a partner to discuss the steps needed to solve a math problem.  Students will be able to share their problem-solving process with the class.



English Language Arts
Grades 4 – 6
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Introducing Growth Mindset

Ask students to think about a time they struggled to solve a math problem.

Have students turn to a partner and share a moment when they struggled in math class. Encourage them to use words that describe how they feel.

Show students the video clip. Ask them to notice what Mojo does when he has trouble solving the math problem.

Explain to students that they are going to work on math problems today that might be tough. Remind them that when they come across a tough problem it is important to persevere like Mojo to help become smarter.


2 Explaining Our Thinking

Tell students that today they will be working with a partner to explain their thinking as they solve a tough math problem.  You may decide to partner students homogeneously by ability.

Locate a problem on TenMarks that is appropriate for the unit of study you are working on in your classroom.  This should be a multi-step problem that can be solved using a variety of approaches. You may decide to give each set of partners different problems.

Ask students to use the Explain Everything app to show the steps they take to solve a problem.  Encourage them to  talk through as they solve the problem so that the screencast records their thinking.

Remind students that an important part of growing as mathematicians is to push themselves to solve tough problems.

3 Sharing Our Work

Activity: Presenting

Choose two or three Explain Everything creations to share with the class.  Ask the student creators to discuss what was hard and what was easy.  As you play back their screencast, pause to have students share what they did when they came to a tricky part of the problem.

As students are sharing, continuously point out and praise moments when they demonstrate a growth mindset. You might say something like: I like how you talked with your partner about how there are multiple ways to solve a problem. I noticed that you were confused and had to stop and think about your next step. I like how you didn't give up when you struggled answering the question the first time.

4 Reflecting on our Growth

Using a digital exit slip tool like Seesaw or Socrative, pose this question to students.

Why is struggling an important part of learning?

Have students submit their responses to you to review.

When they are finished ask them to fill in the blank on a post-it note that will be displayed for the whole class to see: #WithMathICan ______________