Lesson Plan

Instructional Setting

The instructional environment is a fifth-grade classroom with 21 children. The students are from extremely diverse backgrounds ranging from African American, Caucasian, and mixed races. Along with that, the classroom also has two English Language Learners, one gifted student, and one with dyslexia. The child with dyslexia finds it hard to maintain fluency in reading, writing, and spelling of difficult words. Typical of any other 5th-grade classroom with special needs students, the instructional setting uses the inclusion model for teaching curriculum content. Ordinarily, in a class where the number of students with special needs is less the number of learners with no learning disabilities, it is challenging for the teacher meeting the needs of all the learners in the classroom. 

Potential Challenges related to Student Learning Styles, Preferences, and Motivation

Essentially, it is easy for teachers to dismiss the importance of knowing their students’ learning styles and preferences as merely vacuous inanity or something with no significance. When that happens, students and teachers struggle with how to learn and how to teach. As it is, every teacher has their particular teaching style, but so do the students with various learning styles and preferences. Apparently, no individual student exclusively uses one method to utilize the various modalities in a classroom when learning. As it is, learners are always expanding their ability to include as many styles as possible, which is one way to help them adapt in a world where the only capacity to learn is valued. In this context, understanding individual patterns of learning and capitalizing on what works for every child is one of the biggest challenges for teachers (Lewis & Kirkness, 2006). Another thing is, the students’ patterns of learning, and the teacher’s pattern of teaching are as different as the east is from the west. In light of this, teaching difficult lessons demands for teachers adapting to the students’ preferred learning style, which consumes a lot of time reinforcing multiple learning styles. Similarly, it is not possible for the teacher to simultaneously adapt to over 21 learning preferences. Thus, this usually calls for the teacher helping children improve their learning skills in the learning styles they are less comfortable with, which can be difficult especially for slow learners. 

Beyond learning preferences and styles, student motivation also plays a significant role towards educational success. Motivation in this case focuses on individual personality patterns, their general likes or dislikes in certain subjects or interests. How children think and the way they perceive their environment affects the method of learning. Personality patterns also focus on emotions, values, and interests, which predict the way children might feel about specific situations. Furthermore, different learners have different pre-existing interests on certain subjects, topics, and pursuits. Along with that, there are interests discovered in the school in particular areas of curriculum and extra-curriculum activities. According to Shavinina (2013), there is a strong correlation between levels of student interest and motivation, which determines achievement, perseverance, and productivity. Students who are motivated in what they are learning to pursue their learning experiences despite increasing complexity and difficulties. Being able to pay attention to these interests and tapping into internalized motivation is extremely challenging for the teachers. Understanding the connection from within the student and their interests in a certain subject are also time-consuming. As it is, without motivation, students do not pay attention to the curriculum content, making it hard to learn and retain information. 

Lesson Plan


Lesson Title &Subject(s): Introduction to the Map of the United States

Topic or Unit of Study: Social Studies

Grade/Level: 5th Grade

Instructional Setting:

The instructional setting includes 21 students with fours special needs learners. The group discussions will be set in groups of 5 students ranging from A to D except for one group which will have six students. Group A and B with have four students with no special needs and the fifth student will be the two English language learners. Group C will have students with no special needs. Group D will have four students with no special needs, the student with dyslexia and the gifted learner. The gifted student will be expected to move from group D to A and B to help the English Learners Students with understanding any difficult features. During the discussion, the teacher will be near the student with dyslexia to help her with learning difficulties. When the teacher is demonstrating, the students will be seated facing the teaching, but during discussions, the learners will form a circle as their seating arrangement.


Student Achievement Standard(s):

Use maps to name and locate states in the United States, major cities, regions, rivers, and mountains.

Lesson Objective(s):

  • Students will work cooperatively in groups to develop map-reading skills.
  • Students will be expected to study the maps of the United States, locate, and label all fifty states and their corresponding state capitals.
  • Students will also work independently on a state of their choice and identify various interesting facts about the particular state.
  • Students will understand how studying geography will increase their knowledge of the United States as citizens.

Instructional Materials:

  • Maps of the United States 
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • White writing/ drawing paper
  • Computers connected to the internet


Keenan, S., & Alko, S. (2008). Greetings from the 50 states: How they got their names. New York: Scholastic.

The authors Keenan & Alko (2008), covers the origins of each state in the United States, their official and unofficial names and the year each gained statehood. 

Kramme, M. (2000). 50 U.S. states and territories. Place of publication not identified: Mark Twain Media

The book is full of interesting facts about the states of the United States. The comprehension questions following the basic statistics, territory, flag illustrations provide a captivating way to reinforce lessons and reading comprehension.

Ross, W. S., Cummings, B., & Ronan, F. (1991). Fabulous facts about the 50 states. New York: Scholastic Inc.

The book presents fabulous facts about the states with each entry showing a map with the capital, major cities, and distinct geographical features. The authors have made the book as descriptive as possible to provide as much information as possible and interestingly.


Sequence of Instructional Procedures/Activities/Events (provide description and indicate approximate time for each):

  1. Student Prerequisite Skills/Connections to Previous Learning:

Basic skills in using a computer

  1. Presentation Procedures for New Information and/ or Modeling:

Presentation Procedures for New Information: (20 minutes)

Purpose: The purpose is to introduce the maps of the United States and help them to identify all the 50 states accompanied with their capitals and major cities. 

Activity: show the map of the United States on the smartboard and ask students in turns about the various states they have ever traveled apart from their current residence. Each student should sign their name inside the shape of the state they have visited. Next, explain to the students that the lesson entails geography of the United States and define what geography means and its elements.

Modeling: (20 minutes)

We will use helpful ways to help students remember the 50 states by use of flashcard or songs among other fun ways. 

  1. Guided Practice: (40 minutes)

The teacher will begin by defining and explaining the physical maps as well as the meaning of the various symbols on the map. The students who will be subdivided into different groups will be expected to show the features of the map. The teacher will walk around taking note of learners who are struggling and help them with the difficulties. Then on their writing paper, the students will be expected to write in state and their corresponding capitals and one major city.

  1. Independent Student Practice: (1 week)

During this period, students will identify a state and research about it. The research will be conducted on the computer, where students will explore and discover interesting facts about their state of choice. Afterward, the students will be expected to present this in a PowerPoint presentation that discusses about his/her state. Apart from instilling knowledge, this exercise targets fine motor activity where learners practice their typing skills.

  1. Culminating or Closing Procedure/Activity/Event: (60 minutes)

Students will take turns to do their presentations to the whole class and answer questions that the other students may ask about their state of choice.

Instructional Strategy (or Strategies):

The instructional strategy used in the classroom was the interactive instruction which relies on group discussion and sharing of information among members. Students acquire knowledge from teachers and peers to develop their social skills and abilities.

Differentiated Instruction Accommodations:

The teacher will assist the student with dyslexia by standing at their desk during the discussion to help with difficult words. The teacher will also answer questions the student may have to clear up misconceptions. The gifted learner student will be expected to the help the English language learners who may be struggling with understanding the various elements of a map.

Use of Technology:

Technology will be incorporated in form the computers and internet research.

Student Assessment/Rubrics:

Students will turn in their writing sheets with the 50 states and their corresponding capitals and major cities. Make a presentation to the classroom about their chosen state. 

Challenges Addressed in the Lesson Plan

Students from different backgrounds, differ in personalities, learning styles and preferences, which leads to varying degrees of challenges for the teacher and student success. As earlier mentioned, students’ learning styles cannot be the same, which is what makes teaching difficult. Based on this, adapting distinctive teaching methods in the instructional setting brings a balanced teaching approach and as Reinders, Lewis & Kirkness (2006), recommend using different learning styles in an interactive strategy is one way of addressing individual student needs. In the context of the instructional setting, and as a way of dealing with the needs of the learners, the lesson plan incorporates several elements. These include the use of group discussions, oral reports in the form of PowerPoint presentations, use of graphics in form of maps, texts with lots of pictures, computer research, and fun activities in form of songs. Alongside addressing students’ preferences and learning styles, teachers must also ensure their students are motivated for active learning and retention of information. As Taylor & Parsons (2011) explain, there are several themes in student motivation that teachers can adopt in their instructional setting such as making it real, providing choices, use of peer models, and instilling a sense of belonging. In this case, the lesson plan connects with students using maps, where learners can quickly identify states of the United States and point out areas they have visited. Another way the lesson plan connects with students is by providing choices, where learners are allowed to choose a state and work on it. Along with that, students are allowed to work together with their peers in group discussions. The teacher is also warm, friendly, and enthusiastic about helping students with their tasks.

Justification of challenges addressed

A majority of instructional models suggest that the most effective learning environments are those that focus on the problem and involve the student in various phases, which include activation of previously gained knowledge, demonstration, application, and integration of skills. After reviewing the instructional design, Merrill (2013) identified and devised five universal principles to go hand in hand with the phases of learning. As he notes, learning is promoted when pre-existing knowledge is activated, learners are engaged in solving problems, new knowledge is demonstrated, applied, and integrated with the learner’s world. In light of this, by introducing students and allowing them to identify places they have visited on the maps, the teacher activates the pre-existing knowledge. Another way that existing knowledge is activated is through the use of computers where learners are expected to have computer knowledge as a prerequisite. Problem-solving and new insights demonstration and application are achieved through teacher demonstrations and students’ group discussions where they are supposed to demonstrate this knowledge. The integration phase is addressed by expecting students to use their acquired knowledge in their lives as citizens. 


Keenan, S., & Alko, S. (2008). Greetings from the 50 states: How they got their names. New York: Scholastic.

Kramme, M. (2000). 50 U.S. states and territories. Place of publication not identified: Mark Twain Media

Merrill, M. D. (2013). First principles of instruction: Assessing and designing effective, efficient, and engaging instruction. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Reinders, H., Lewis, M., & Kirkness, A. (2006). Transform your teaching: Strategies for multicultural education. Auckland, N.Z: Pearson Education New Zealand.

Ross, W. S., Cummings, B., & Ronan, F. (1991). Fabulous facts about the 50 states. New York: Scholastic Inc.

Shavinina, L. V. (2013). Routledge International Handbook of Innovation Education. Oxon; Routledge.

Taylor, L. & Parsons, J. (2011). Improving Student Engagement. Current Issues in Education, 14(1), pp. 1-33.

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