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What do standards-based lesson plans look like?

Two examples follow that demonstrate some basic principles of incorporating and applying standards. Examples of the resulting student work are provided, with a demonstration of how the grading rubric is applied.

Note that although these are mathematics lessons, they don't just ask for correct answers -- they require an explanation. Writing is important in standards-based classrooms. Even in mathematics, if students can explain their answers in writing it shows that they understand not only how to perform the necessary operations, but also the underlying process and principles.

Fair Snack is a statistics problem that should be interesting to kids in grades 3-5. It allows them to use the concepts of mean, median, and mode to determine how to fairly distribute some cookies among the class. Students will enjoy being able to use these mathematical ideas at home or in any situation where a fair distribution of resources is desired.

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards it meets are:

• Problem-Solving
• Reasoning
• Connections
• Communication
• Probability and Statistics

Concept and Skill areas include:

• Data Collection
• Sample Size
• Concepts of Central Tendency

The "Fences" math assignment is suitable for children in grades 6-8. It is a design and financial problem -- the student must determine how to build a fence for a dog run that will fit on the property and meet the budget. It challenges students to think visually about mathematical concepts and to apply them to a real-life problem. Since the project is to build a dog run, rather than some other area of the house that students might find too boring and "adult," it should interest many students.

The NCTM standards it meets are:

• Problem-Solving
• Reasoning
• Connections
• Communication
• Geometry and Measurement
• Patterns, Functions, and Algebra

Concept and Skill areas include:

• Division
• Perimeter

Both of these examples are taken from the "Exemplars" curriculum materials.

 Patricia M. Holmes's class tackles math and music standards in the same lesson.

The following geometry and music lesson by Patricia M. Holmes addresses math standards published by the National Council on Teaching Mathematics and music standards by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning for grades 7-12.