Lesson: Main Idea II

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to define and identify main ideas and supporting details in text.

Lesson Plan

Note: This lesson should b delivered before students have read the McJobs chapter of Chew on This.


1.       Review aloud the definitions of main idea and details, writing notes on the board about these terms as students participate.

2.       Tell students they will now be presented with paragraphs from Chew on This that they have not yet read. Each group will get its own paragraph, and they will use it to create a main idea/detail puzzle with which to try to stump their classmates.

Hand out supplies to students: copies of various paragraphs from McJobs (each group receives a different paragraph), highlighters, copies of main idea puzzle.

Lesson Body

3.       Explain the following procedure for the group activity, keeping it on the board as students work:

a.       aloud in groups: read paragraph assigned to you from McJobs

b.      individually and silently: each person in group highlights main idea

c.       aloud in round robin: share main ideas; come to main idea consensus

d.      individually and silently: underline four of the most supportive, relevant details. Number them from most to least relevant.

e.      aloud in round robin: share details; come to consensus about four most relevant details.

Note: at this point, teacher should check each group’s Main Idea puzzle for accuracy.

f.        everyone at table now fills out Main Idea Puzzle sheet using group-generated ideas; one of these papers will act as that team's answer key during game

g.       get 5 pieces of large paper or sentence strips and markers—write main idea and details on the pieces of paper in large letters

h.      scramble 5 papers at table and get ready for visiting contestants (students from other tables). also choose one group member to stay back during game and act as host

4.       Teacher should give a sheet of stickers or some other small prize to each host. These will be given out to teams who solve the puzzle.

5.       Game: teams move together (except the host, who stays behind) to next table, allowing that table’s host to get them started unscrambling the main idea and details. They must read the sentence strips and try to arrange them in “table” format, with the main idea on top and the four supporting details on the bottom.


When all teams have visited all tables, close the class by asking students to raise their hands and share which team had the most challenging paragraph. Also: pose the question as to whether paragraphs have only one "correct" main idea or if main idea is open to interpretation.
If desired, collect papers and tally up which team earned the most stickers, revealing the winner at the next class.


1. What went well?

2. What would you change?

3. What needs explanation?

The fact that kids get to challenge and compete with one another is fun and engaging for them.










This lesson had lots of movement of groups, which means opportunities to get off task, so be careful to maintain structure and enforce the rules you established when explaining the procedures.

See notes within lesson.


Lesson Resources

Main Idea Puzzle  


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