Lesson Plan

Social Problem Solvers #WithMathICan

This lesson helps students to approach an unfamiliar problem and explain their mathematical thinking using the social platform, Cue Think.
Teresa R.
Classroom teacher
Mountain View Preparatory
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My Grades 5
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to...explain their thinking and judge their level of communication using Sue Larson’s “Communication Entry Rubric”. Students will be able to approach an unfamiliar problem using the tools in CueThink to help them understand, plan, solve and review their solution. Students will be able to identify numbers to the left of a place value are ten times as large and one tenth of value to the right of that place value. Students will respond using correct mathematical vocabulary.


Grades 5
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Explore and Expain Communication Expectation

Activity: Assessing

Pass out Sue Larson's Communication Entry Rubric and student samples of work. Student will review previous problem solving work and establish expectation examples for each stage of Sue Larson’s “Communication Entry Rubric.” Students will compare their scores with their partner’s. Discrepancies will be examined with the questions, “Why do you think this is (4,3,2,1)? What makes this a (4) and not a (3)? What part of the Communication Entry Rubric helped you to score this student’s math communication?” Partners will choose an example that they scored 3,2, or 1 and work together to bring it to the next rubric level. Partners will share with another set of partners, explain their reasoning for the first score and who evidence that they improved the communication. Students will highlight vocabulary that helps to improve and explain the mathematical concepts.

Student Instructions

Students will use Sue Larson's Communication Entry Rubric  (CER) to:

  • Individually score problems previously completed.
  • Compare scores with their partner and examine discrepancies. 
  • Partners will choose one problem to improve the score by using the CER.
  • Students will highlight the vocabulary that helps improve and explain the mathematical concepts.

2 Communication is Communication

Today, students will use the tools in CueThink to explain their mathematical reasoning and solutions. Communication will be scored using Sue Larson’s “Communication Entry Rubric.”  (CER) Ask students to make connections between the CueThink Panels and Sue Larson’s Communication Entry Rubric. Students share their connections with a partner and whole groups discussion generates a class poster summarizing connections between CueThink and Sue Larson’s Communication Entry Rubric. Students will approach a situational, place-value problem and communicate their thinking. solution and reasoning using the tools in CueThink.

Student Instructions

Students log into Cue Think and consider the CER. 

  • Individually students identify where Level 4 communication is at in Cue Think
  • Students share with their partner to identify the ways Cue Think will help them communicate their mathematical understanding.

3 Beyond Solution, Explain and Show

Students are encouraged to use the place value system in their solution strategy.  Their solution is modeled on the Solve tab in Que Think. Discrete models of mathematical concepts help students to explain abstract ideas. Using a place value chart to show how the value of digits change from place value.

Student Instructions

Using the tools in Cue Think:

The Problem:

An Ocelot’s Tale

Ms. Rose’s class has received a digital scale for use in science  and math. They test the scale by weighing one pencil and the scale reads 0.5 grams. How much would ten pencils weigh? Why?

Students test the scale with 100 unit cubes and the scale reads 100.00 grams. How much would you expect 10 unit cubes to weigh? Why?

  1. Understand the Problem, refer to CER
  2. Plan your strategy(s)
  3. Solve, refer to CER. Explain the process on screen using the voice record problem.
  4. Reflect on your solution. 
  5. Respond to solutions peers have posted. Learn a new strategy, approach the problem in a different way. Make Math Social