Park City Mathematics Institute
Japanese Lesson Study

Project Abstract

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 middle school mathematics. When we met at PCMI, we brainstormed a variety of topics and narrowed them to two strands, both having to do with graphs and change. By the 3rd day we had selected our goal of how change is represented graphically (our big idea) and our mathematical objective of having students understand how change can be represented graphically. "Understanding" means students can explain how graphs represent change and they can relate situations to graphs. They should also be able to create real-life scenarios for a given graph. They should be able to label the axes of graphs and understand that one graph can describe more than one situation.

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 twelve of our colleagues. We spent a session critiquing and revising our lesson before teaching it a second time to eleven 8th-grade students from Centennial Middle School in Provo. 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 lessonwe worked on collaboratively during our three weeks at the Park City Mathematics 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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IAS/Park City Mathematics Institute is an outreach program of the Institute for Advanced Study, 1 Einstein Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540
Send questions or comments to: Suzanne Alejandre and Jim King

With program support provided by Math for America

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under DMS-0940733 and DMS-1441467. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.