43 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT: • Explain and demonstrate procedures in math class • Explain the difference between a fixed and growth mindset • Choose a strategy to solve a word problem.

Big Idea

What is the difference between a fixed and growth mindset? How can it affect how a person thinks and acts? Students work on answering these questions and also work on solving problems in partners.

Do Now

7 minutes

See my Do Now in my Strategy folder that explains my beginning of class routines.

Often, I create do nows that have problems that connect to the task that students will be working on that day.  I know students learned about growth mindset in 5th grade, so during the do now I want them to activate this knowledge.  The statement in 2b is taken from the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song, “Ten Thousand Hours”.  Some students may be familiar with it.  In the song Macklemore references Malcolm Gladwell’s ideas and research that says that becoming an expert requires working on a skill for 10,000 hours.  Be warned, the song does have some explicit language.  For this reason, I don’t play it for students.

After a few minutes, we come together as a class to share out ideas.

The Power of Belief

10 minutes


  • I show my students minutes 2:00 – 4:08 of the video.


I have students preview the statements.  I have typed the main takeaways from the video, leaving only a few notes for students to take.  This way students can focus on the content rather than worrying about copying down a lot of information.

As we watch the video, I pause to address new vocabulary and I ask students to summarize what Eduardo is saying.  If needed, I play certain parts of the video over so students can understand the messages.  I want students to understand the difference between having a fixed and growth mindset and how that can affect what people do.  I emphasize the point that people with fixed mindsets worry a lot about people judging them.  I ask students, “How can that affect how a person feels or what a person does?”  This is something that many kids and adults struggle with, especially during middle school when it can feel like everyone is always judging each other.  I challenge students to listen for those judgments in their own heads and start to challenge them.  It is difficult, but can lead to great things.  I tell a brief story about how I was worrying about what others thought of me in a graduate school class.

Fixed Mindset or Growth Mindset?

5 minutes

I give students a couple minutes to read over the statements independently and write their answers.  I call on students to share out their ideas. We will talk more about mistakes in the next section.

Mistakes and Persistence

10 minutes

I ask students, “What does it look and sound like to have a productive conversation with your partner?”  I want students to mention that people need to take turns, to really listen to each other, and respond or ask questions about what their partner says.

Students participate in another Think Write Pair Share for these questions.  After students have had a few minutes to talk and jot down notes we come together as a class.  I ask students to share out ideas that their partner mentioned.  I want to emphasize the importance of listening and paying attention to what other people say.  The challenge is for students to accept mistakes as part of the learning process.  I stress that in order for everyone to feel safe and supported, every student needs to feel comfortable taking a risk and trying something that might not work.  It is crucial not to laugh at each other when someone messes up.  This can make someone feel really bad and it may discourage him or her from trying something new or difficult.

Why are these procedures important?

3 minutes


  • Before the lesson I use the data from the previous year to Create Homogeneous Groups of students.  Students work in groups of 2.
  • I create a list of these partners to show students.

I ask students why procedures are important.  I want them to recognize that using procedures allows us to use our time efficiently and develops practices where everyone knows what to do.  To prepare for working with partners, I review the procedure.  I show students their partners.  They collect their materials and I give them 20 seconds to move seats.  If students struggle with this procedure students return to their desks and try it again.  

Problem Solving

20 minutes


  • Students will start working on this Problem Solving Packet by looking at the strategies and guided practice.  They will start working with their partners on some of the problems during the following lesson.  I have students work on this packet when we finish a lesson with extra time.

I call on a volunteer to explain the procedure for passing back papers.  I pass back the Unit 1 Problem Solving packets and I explain that we are only going to start working on this packet today.  Students will work more on it the next day in class. 

I explain that my goal is that with time and practice students will not feel like the poor gentleman in the picture on the first page.  We read page two together and I ask students if there are other strategies that they would like to add.  I give students a minute to look over my work on page 3.  Sometimes strategies are as simple as figuring out what operation would work, or creating a way to organize your work.

We move on to page four.  I have a volunteer read the problem.  Partners participate in a Think Write Pair Share.  I give students a minute to think and write down ideas.  Then they share with their partner and work on finding an answer.  After a couple minutes, we come together as a class to share out ideas.  I explain that sometimes you use the information from a problem to take a guess and check to see if it works. 

We go through the same process with the problem about Mireya.  After students have worked with their partner I call on students to share their ideas and strategies.  If a student doesn’t mention it, I show them how creating a time line can help organize the information and work backwards to figure out when she left school.

If we have time, students start to work on the problems with their partner.  They are engaging in MP1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them and MP4: Model with mathematics.  They can choose whichever problem they want to work on as a pair.  Once they have an answer, they raise their hand to check in with me before moving on.

At the end of the time I explain that students will need to have this packet ready.  Students return to their seats and put their materials away.


5 minutes

For Closure I ask students, “What does it mean to be persistent?” and “What kind of comments would a person with a growth mindset think of if they are working on something difficult?” I call on students to share out their ideas.

I explain that students will not have a ticket to go.  I remind them that their HW  assignment on expectations is due the following day.  I ask students to explain the dismissal procedure.  If students struggle packing up, cleaning up, and lining up we practice it again.