Chris Adcock
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Middle School
  • 6th Grade Mathematics
  • Problem-solving
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
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    Project Rubric & Relevant Criteria

    Project Rubric & Relevant Criteria


    Students design and work on their projects in class. They review the project rubric and, as a class, add criteria relevant to their specific projects.

    Key Concepts

    Throughout this unit, students are encouraged to apply the mathematical concepts they have learned over the course of this year to new settings. Help students develop and refine these problem-solving skills:

    • Creating a problem-solving plan and implementing their plan systematically
    • Persevering through challenging problems to find solutions
    • Recalling prior knowledge and applying that knowledge to new situations
    • Making connections between previous learning and real-world problems
    • Communicating their approaches with precision and articulating why their strategies and solutions are reasonable
    • Creating efficacy and confidence in solving challenging problems in a real world

    Goals and Learning Objectives

    • Create and implement a problem-solving plan.
    • Organize and interpret data presented in a problem situation.
    • Analyze the relationship between two variables.
    • Use ratios.
    • Write and solve proportions.
    • Create rate tables to organize data and make predictions.
    • Use multiple representations—including tables, graphs, and equations—to organize and communicate data.
    • Articulate strategies, thought processes, and approaches to solving a problem and defend why the solution is reasonable.

    Project Rubric

    Lesson Guide

    Have students view the project rubric. Give students 2 minutes to study the rubric. Then have students work with a partner to review the rubric. The first partner should take 1 minute to describe the rubric as completely as possible, and then the other partner should take 30 seconds to add to the description without repeating anything that was already said. When students are finished, tell them that today they will add any specifics to the rubric that they think are needed for evaluating their projects.


    Project Rubric

    Work with a partner to review the project rubric.

    • Take 2 minutes to study the project rubric.
    • Then have one partner (without looking at the rubric) take 1 minute to describe the rubric as completely as possible to the other partner (who can see it). This partner should listen carefully to the description.
    • Briefly look at the rubric again together. The partner who was previously the listener should now take 30 seconds to add to the description—without repeating any of it.

    Math Mission

    Lesson Guide

    Discuss the Math Mission. Students will design and work on their projects.


    Design and work on your project.

    Project Work

    Lesson Guide

    Make sure students understand that the best use of this in-class project work day is to accomplish what they can't easily do later outside of class. Big, beautiful displays are a last step; now is the time for groups to decide how they will go about completing their project. Today's work is messy and preliminary; some of it may be devoted to finding resources (Internet-based and elsewhere).

    Provide useful feedback by circulating among the working pairs and groups—listening to what they say and watching what they do. Ask clarifying questions:

    • What mathematical concepts can you use to investigate your question?
    • What materials are necessary?
    • How will you investigate your question?
    • How can you use units to clarify your results?
    • How will you communicate your results to your audience?

    Remind students to look at the list of what their presentation should include.

    SWD: Students with disabilities may demonstrate difficulty initiating tasks. Some students may benefit from cues at the outset of independent/group work (proximal, visual and/or verbal).

    ELL: Allow students to use a dictionary throughout the lesson. Dictionaries of either online or print format that have accompanying images will be best.

    Allow students to choose a bilingual or monolingual dictionary (Level 1 or Level 2) based on their preference.

    Work Time

    Project Work

    Work on your project with your project group.

    Part of your work today may involve planning, making calculations, and/or finding needed information.

    When your presentation is finished, it must contain:

    • A written explanation of the mathematics in your project
    • Accurate representations (such as graphs, tables, and/or diagrams) of the mathematics in your project


    • Use the project rubric to evaluate your project in its current state to make sure you are on the right track.

    Make Connections

    Lesson Guide

    Have students return to the project rubric. Tell them that, as a class, they can agree to add to—but not subtract from—the general rubric to improve the fit with their problem-solving projects. There are two main ways to add to the rubric:

    • Add detail to one or more of the descriptions of score 4. (See the column “Specific to This Project.”)
    • Add a new criterion for scoring, and then describe the score 4 for that criterion. (See the blank, last row.)

    Give students a couple of minutes to talk with their partner or group. Then let individuals propose any specific additions. You or a student may record these; after the class discussion, adopt whichever criteria have the support of the class.

    (Note: This is a brief, focused opportunity for students to take ownership of the rubric. They may make several additions or none. The objective is their buy-in.)

    ELL: Call on ELLs and encourage them to participate, even if their pace is slower or they are shy or reluctant to volunteer.

    Performance Task

    Make Connections

    Look at the rubric again.

    • Notice the blank column with the heading Specific to This Project. Is there anything that you think should be added to this column?
    • Next look at the bottom row that is blank. Is there any scoring criterion for the project that you think should be added here?
    • Take a few minutes to discuss these questions with your partner. Write down any ideas you have.
    • Discuss your ideas as a class.
    • As you propose an idea, make sure to explain why you think it is important. After all ideas are discussed, the class will decide as a group whether or not to adopt any of the suggestions.

    Reflect On Your Work

    Lesson Guide

    Give students a few minutes to respond individually to two simple prompts, focused on what they accomplished today and what their next steps are. These reflections can be quite skeletal—very short lists are fine. Then, give partners and groups a few more minutes to share their individual reflections. Make sure students realize that their reflections now serve as their “starter” for the work they will do outside of class to complete their problem-solving project.

    SWD: Some students may struggle to initiate writing for this reflection. Prompt them to refer to the sentence starters for support. Provide students with scaffolding questions about their problem-solving plans or a bulleted list of common project steps about which the students can write.

    Work Time


    Write a reflection about the ideas discussed in class today. Use the sentence starters below if you find them to be helpful. When you are finished writing, share your reflections with your group.

    Today my group accomplished …

    Our next steps are …