Elementary Math Lesson Plans

Elementary math lesson plans should be interdisciplinary. That is, they should challenge young students to apply prior knowledge from other subject areas.

When students are challenged to apply what they have learned in other subject areas, especially very young students, they get excited about learning math.

So good lessons plans start with what most students already know.

But of course the purpose of a lesson is to introduce them to new material.

As they learn new skills in math, they learn new vocabulary to use in the world at large. These vocabulary lessons are not just for math class.

Every elementary math student learns the word subtract. They learn that it means to take away. And they apply that knowledge first to small, then to larger numbers.

But think about the Latin roots of that word. Sub means under, tract means dragged. So the word literally means to drag from under.

Before you let any student take away one number from another, access their prior knowledge: Tractors!

A tractor is large machine that drags things behind it. Let them imagine how a tractor works, what kinds of materials it may drag.

Then show them the tractor dragging a certain small number away from a larger number.

Then teach them a few new vocabulary words that use the same Latin root: tractus.

For young students that means just a few vocabulary words such as attract (to drag toward), distract (to drag away), and extract (to drag out).

For more mature students, see this lesson on teaching prefixes from the Latin verb trahere.

What will your young students take away?

Not only a working knowledge of how subtraction works, but also a few glimpses into the concept of building vocabulary from Latin roots.

Not to mention a little fun with tractors.

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