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 from various parts of the country has made amazing strides in working and planning collaboratively.
We met at PCMI and were presented with a definition of Lesson Study by Dr. Akihiko Takahashi of Depaul University. We also observed an edited video of lesson study in a Chicago public school. We would be teaching a geometry lesson in a summer enrichment program at Park City High School in Park City, Utah. Since the students only meet for twenty three days, the day that we would be teaching the lesson would determine the lesson that we would be teaching. We would be teaching a lesson on area, specifically the area of a parallelogram. Over the next week, we had to decide how we wanted to approach the lesson and decide what we wanted the students to take from the lesson. We designed the lesson around the importance of the perpendicular measures of a polygon in order to determine the area. We felt that this fact would create a foundation for the students to discover and derive the area formulas for the triangle, trapezoid, and kite. We assigned the roles of teacher and various types of recorders/observers and taught a practice lesson to twelve of our colleagues, with observers from the Learning from Teaching Cases Working Group and the International Seminar. We spent an additional session revising our lesson before teaching it a second time to twelve summer school Geometry students, grades 9 and 10. After a second revision, a PowerPoint presentation 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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With program support provided by Math for America
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0314808.