Comprehension in Mathematics content area

Lesson plan:

Comprehension in Mathematics content area

Name:  JR               

Intended grade level: 6

State standard(s): (CA Common Core #9): Students will analyze the relationship between the dependent and independent variables using graphs and tables, and relate these to the equation.

Learning Target(s):

Students will solve a word problem by identifying key terms and required information and explain their mathematical thinking behind their answer.

List the research-based strategies and routines from the course readings and research that you will incorporate into this lesson plan:

  • Purpose and Motivation: Students should know what the purpose is of reading the word problem – how does will it relate to their needs and wants in life.  Teacher will develop this by giving real-word examples of the problem.  This can be used in conjunction with the Anticipation Guide.
  • Anticipation Guide: guide will be based on information that will challenge the students’ thinking, but not too much that students have no context with which to answer. Background knowledge of the student is required and should be considered when making questions.   Five statements that discuss the important concepts of the learning target.  After group work has concluded, each statement is discussed as a whole class.  If class is unable to have the discussion appropriately, teacher will re-teach classroom discussion expectations and try activity again.  
  • Strategic Teaching: Use a concept map and select key questions to answer.  Based on background knowledge of students and prior observation/assessment, items will be placed in the concept map as appropriate.  For a Math unit, the key questions may be:

“What happens when prices to up, but we don’t get more money?”

“How can we explain why the more internet users we have, the worse our internet connection becomes”

  • Vocabulary: 5 – 6 words will be introduced
  • Imaging: It is likely that the math concepts covered in this lesson will require a substantial amount of imaging – overheads, drawings and dry-erase boards may be used for this end.
  • Discussing the Reading: Students will discuss the word problem in small groups to reflect on the reading and check their comprehension with others.  
  • Rereading:  teacher will re-read the problem to the class
  • Extending and Applying:  after completion of word problems, students may research real-world problems on google or Bing! and present to group or class.
  • Text Structure: The Story schema of reader’s concept of a word problem may not be developed.  Teachers should watch for students that can read the problem, but may not be able to develop the critical elements of the word problem  
  • Description, Problem–Solution, Explanation:  Teacher first tells students that they are only to extract information first.  Then they are to solve the problem.  Explanation will follow later.
  • Framing: The teacher will ‘frame’ the discussion of the word problem by stating in what real-world situations this problem could apply.  
  • Strategy Guides:


  1. vocabulary definitions and translations of unfamiliar language,
  2. Identify organizational pattern required of each step of analyzing the word problem (description, problem-solution, explanation)
  3. Examples of all needed operations to solve problem (without giving out the correct operations)
  4. Provide examples of graphs, etc., that may be used in solving or explaining problem.
  • Reciprocal Teaching: select students will create their own problems for the group to consider (teacher checks for validity first) and solve.
  • Content Knowledge:  it is critical for lower-readers to develop their content knowledge at the same time they are improving their process competency.
  • Adapting Texts:  Though less of a challenge in Math, chapters that contain a significant amount of text may require adaptation by the teacher.
  • Hands­-On Learning: Students who have challenges with accessing text in her or his math class may benefit from more hands-on activities to increase understanding of a learning target.
  • Associational Strategies: May be important for students who need to remember Math procedures or information
  • Study Habits: Interview students who struggle in reading and ask them what kinds of tests are difficult for them and why.  Plan for alternate assessments and teach study skills as needed; make sure these students know exactly what needs to be studied.

List the accommodations for ELLs that you will incorporate into this lesson plan:

  • As appropriate, minority language groups may discuss in home language to achieve to foster concept comprehension.
  • Make input comprehensible
  • Present directions clearly
  • use visual aids to reinforce
  • use hands­-on activities
  • read text with students
  • Use frequent checks for understanding
  • Allow for multiple ways of demonstrating comprehension

Materials required:

Pencil/sharpeners, anticipation activity worksheet, overhead/projector

Gen Ed Lesson Sequence:

1.  Students are brought to order and remain quiet via classroom management techniques.  

2.  Students work on anticipation guide in small groups.  Guide goes on overhead.  Extra paper copies are available.  If it is clear that groups cannot handle the activity, teacher will re-teach how to work in small groups and try the activity again.  Questions will be based on the key concepts from the learning target, in this case solving a word problem.  A sample question may be:

“Word problems can only have ONE correct answer.”

Questions are reviewed and elaborated as a class as determined by teacher.

3.  Instructional routines             

a.  Students will be given instructions as to how to complete the word problem group activity.  Students with special needs (of any category) will have been strategically groups.  Items listed under ‘research-based strategies’ will be applied as appropriate for these students.

b.  Student will work on activity under the parameters of the small-group discussion expectations as taught to the class during the first weeks of school.  

c.  Transitions: transitions between activities will be conducted in accordance with expectations as taught to the class during the first weeks of school.  

d.  Review: teacher re-reads the problems.  Students state if they agree that each problems was answered correctly.  Problem is framed to that of a real-world situation.

e.  Closure: Teacher gives appreciations to students, and students to each other.

6.  Assessment: Students may be given a group problem to solve, as well as individual problems.

7.  Reflection: Teacher reflects on what went right and what needs to be changed and why.


Opitz, M., Rubin, D., & Erekson, J. (2011 ). Reading Diagnosis and Improvement: Assessment and Instruction [University of Phoenix Custom Edition eBook]. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, RDG/502 website.

Gunning, T. G. (2009). Assessing and Correcting Reading and Writing Difficulties 4th edition [University of Phoenix Custom Edition eBook]. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, RDG/502 website.

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