21st Century Lesson Planning

This week in CEP 810, we discussed Renee Hobb’s idea of five core competencies as fundamental literacy practices and Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown’s work on students being able to know how to find information, apply information and play in order to learn. After our learning, we were asked to design a 21st century lesson plan for our students.  Hobb’s ideas really struck a chord with me, not only next year will I be making the move to a 1:1 environment, but my school—like many—are in the middle of a huge literacy initiative. Her focus on asking students open ended questions that have no right or wrong answer was something that I really gravitated towards. As I designed my lesson plan (discussed below), I tried to only ask open ended questions.

As a math teacher, I chose to design a lesson surrounding Transforming quadratic functions. One of the early portions of my quadratic equations unit is when I introduce the idea of standard form (y=ax2+bx+c) and we discuss what each coefficient’s effect on the graph is when the coefficient is changed. This lesson is one that presents a wonderful opportunity to allow for students to play with and explore on their own exactly what happens. To design this lesson, I used two forms of technology to assist my students. The first is the dynamic graphing software, GeoGebra. This software is available free online and can be put on any computer. Since I am still becoming familiar with it, I did not design my own applet, but found one already designed. This applet allows students to move a slider connected to each coefficient and the graph of the quadratic moves based on how that coefficient affects the graph. After a sufficient time of playing I plan to have students answer questions about how a, b, & c affect the graph. The students then have two more open ended questions. In these two questions, I give the students a point, and they need to decide what a, b, & c will allow the graph to go through that point and describe what that graph looks like.

Please check out my lesson plan and leave me feedback. Also, I have opened up the ability for others to play with the applet and submit their answers, so feel free to play.


Hobbs, R. (2011). Digital and media literacy: Connecting culture and classroom. Thousand, Oaks, CA: Corwin/Sage.

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky: CreateSpace?.


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