Lesson study is "a collaborative professional development process that involves joint lesson planning under a common goal where teachers engage in planning, implementing, observing, and reflecting on a lesson. The focus of lesson study is on mathematics and on students." Through the experience of learning about and engaging in this process, our group of six math teachers has made amazing strides in working and planning collaboratively.
Our process started with e-mail introductions between group members and narrowing our topic to high school Geometry. When we met at PCMI, we brainstormed a variety of geometry topics and had refined these to our top 10 ideas by the second day of collaboration. With the help of 4 visiting math supervisors, by the 3rd day we had selected our goal of dimensionality (our big idea) and our mathematical objective of having students articulate how changing the length of a shape affects its area and volume. We chose a paper cutting stair step fractal to illustrate the concept of scale factor and its affect on area and volume. Over the next week, we designed the lesson around an engaging activity with solid mathematical concepts and ideas that we as teachers could build on. We assigned the roles of teacher, timer, and various types of recorders/observers and taught a practice lesson to thirteen of our colleagues. We spent two sessions critiquing and revising our lesson before teaching it a second time to six summer school Geometry students, grades 9 and 10. After a second revision, a description of our process including the lesson components is ready to be shared with fellow teachers.
This article describes our experience with the lesson study model and includes the lesson we worked on collaboratively during our three weeks at the Park City Math Institute. Group members will now teach this lesson in their own classrooms and will revise the lesson together drawing upon our individual experiences.
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0314808.