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"There is no substitute for a good substitute teacher."
Below are a few Lesson Plans that will take little or no preparation time!

  The Bridge Objective: To develop cooperative learning skills in an informal setting.

Grade Levels: 4-12

Materials: several stacks of old newspapers, masking tape (one roll per group), 3x5 cards

Procedure: Divide students into cooperative groups of no more than five. Provide each student with the simple written direction on a 3x5 card that reads: "Together with your group, use the newspapers and roll of masking tape in front of you to build a bridge. You may ask any group/team member how to accomplish this, but you cannot ask other groups/teams around you. Use your imagination and be original!" Students are given 20-30 minutes to problem solve and create a bridge using only these two materials. When they have finished, ask each group to connect their bridge with that of every other group/team in the room. Do not provide further directions other than to ask them to connect their bridges in order to make one bridge."

Extension: Have students do a brief writing assignment and consider the following: Were they able to avoid watching other groups for possible problem solving ideas? Was it necessary for students to know some rudiementary form of geometry? Did they dive into the building or think through the process first? What would they have done differently?


  Center Division Objective: To provide further real word practice in division.

Grade Level: 2-4

several styrofoam/plastic bowls or cups
pinto beans
popsicle/craft sticks
jelly beans (other candy can substitute as well)
3x5 index cards

Set materials out in "centers". In center one, provide four bowls and a handful of pinto beans. In center two, provide a pre-measured (any length) piece of string and a yardstick. In center three, provide 30-35 popsicle sticks. In center four, provide six bowls and a handful of jelly beans.

Students travel in cooperative groups to each center. They are asked to divide various objects evenly. In center one, the studetns read a problem on an index card similar to this: "Divide these pinto beans so that four groups could plant the same amount of beans in their science experiment. Record your results in a number sentence and then illustrate them." In center two, the students read a problem on a card that reads: "If every student in the class must receive one foot (12 inches) of string, do I have enough for everyone? If not, how many inches and feet are still needed? Record your results in a number sentence and then illustrate." In center three, the students read: "If seven students need five popsicle sticks to label the seeds in their garden, do we have enough for each of them? Record your results in a number sentence and illustrate." In center four, the students read: "Divide the four different colors of jelly beans. Then, tell whether there are enough of each for four students to receive three of each color. If not, tell how many more are missing of each color. Record your results in a number sentence and illustrate."

Extension: Have students work individually to create one or more word problems and illustrations using a combination of the items they used or others they think of.

  Unusual "What If's" Objective: To provide students with practice in grammar, sentence structure, and other language skills.

Grade Level: 4-12

chalkboard/overhead/chart paper

Write the following statements for all students to see. Stress that it is important for students NOT to think traditionally about the objects.

What if you had a million...
bricks, but you could not build anything with them?
dollars, but you couldn't spend any of them?
dominoes, but you couldn't play games with them?
diamond rings, but you could't sell or wear them?
cans of stewed mushrooms, but they were all poisonous?
pencils, but they had no lead inside of them
wadded up gum wrappers

Have students create an idea for a million of some type of object that could not be used traditionally. (Save the best ideas to use with other classrooms!)


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