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Activity Ideas for Lesson Plan Building Blocks

Each lesson plan building block (Motivate, Inform, Check in, Practice and Apply) calls for a different type of activity. Adapt any of the activities below for the content of your course.

Motivate:

  • Create an experience for students and have them reflect in order to get their attention and interest. “Look at the image on the board. Close your eyes. Try to mentally reconstruct the image in your head. What did you remember and what did you forget?”
     
  • Have students attempt to do something they have not yet learned in order to see their need for instruction you will provide. “Draw your hand. What was easy? What was difficult?”
     
  • Have students recall an experience that will generate a personal connection with the topic you're teaching. “Think back to a favorite childhood story. How did that story make you feel? Why do you think it stuck with you?”
     
  • Ask questions that get students to speculate about the topic you are about to present in order to generate curiosity. “What do you imagine that this tool does? How do you think it works?”
     
  • Ask students what they already know about the topic you are going to teach. “Have you ever encountered ____? What do you know about it? What does ___ have to do with what we’ve been studying?”
     
  • Get students to ask questions about the topic you are going to teach. “Today I’m going to teach you ____. Before I do, take a few minutes to write down any questions you have about this topic.”
     
  • Give a diagnostic ‘test’ to find out what students know before you introduce new information. “Write the steps that are involved in ___ process.” “Write down the main features of this artist’s work.”

Inform:

  • Use a variety of approaches to introduce new information: lectures, demos, guest speakers, field trips, readings, student-led presentations, or videos.

Practice (Guided):

Ask students to:

  • Paraphrase the most important points in their own words.
     
  • Brainstorm examples and/or visual representations for each main point.
     
  • Answer basic questions about the information on a handout, through conversation, or on a quiz.
     
  • Use the new skill a number of times, first in pairs then individually.
     
  • Write a study guide or quiz questions to test their classmates on the information.
     
  • Ask students to begin homework in small groups during class.

Check-in:

  • Use several Learning Snapshots to check in on how students are progressing.

Apply:

Ask students to:

  • Work on the homework assignment independently.
     
  • Do a complex project in which they must use the new info/skill (in class or for homework).
     
  • Find or look at and discuss situations that seem to contradict the new information.
     
  • Write about how the new information changes the way students view a project they are working on, or how it impacts their lives.
     
  • Revisit a project they are already working on and reassess it or enhance it with the new knowledge they have.
     
  • Ask questions that push students to the limit of the new information. “What are some other ways or scenarios in which you can imagine using this skill/info?” “What do you need to learn to take this new skill further?”