Math PK-2

Three-phase Lesson Format


Three-phase lesson format is a problem-solving structure to promote meaningful math learning by activating prior knowledge, letting students explore mathematical thinking, and promoting a math community of learners. The three elements of this format are: 1) before phase or launch: getting ready, 2) during phase or explore: students work, and 3) after phase or summarize: class discussion.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how this first grade teacher uses the three-phase lesson format to teach Operations and Language Skills. Through this problem-solving approach, students persevere to advance their mathematical thinking and Mathematical Flexibility.

  • To implement this lesson format, teachers can start by asking thought-provoking questions and connecting the ideas of the mathematical task/problem to prior student experiences. Next, students explore and work on the task independently then with peers. Lastly, teachers bring the whole class back together to discuss the math ideas developed in the task and draw connections to strategies different students used.
  • Design It into Your Product

  • Products can be built around these three-phases to support the problem-solving process. They can also embed task-specific, extension questions or additional support when necessary depending on the learner's misconceptions, challenges, or strategies. This additional feedback can be useful in stretching learners' Mathematical Flexibility and Motivation to problem solve.