Learning Activities

This section of the Design Lab houses more than 200 activities strategically selected to support young people in learning key skills. Most of the activities can be used in classrooms across multiple content areas (including math!). The Learning Strategy Buttons and Search Filters will provide you with many different ways to explore the collection, allowing you to quickly identify activities for specific instructional plans.

Lesson Plan Stages

Common Core Instructional Shifts

Content Areas

Learning Strands


Showing 12 of 218 results:

My Favorite No

  • Reflection
In this activity, inspired by The Teaching Channel , students will answer a question provided by their teacher and then analyze a wrong answer given by a classmate. The purpose of this activity is for the...

Narrative Text Structure

  • Investigation
  • Launching Into New Content
All readers are better able to understand texts that are familiar to them, both in form and in content. However, many students struggle to identify the various structures that text can take, and they are...

Newspaper Connection

  • Reflection
  • Synthesis
In this activity, inspired by Burke’s The English Teacher’s Companion (1998), students will bring in articles (newspaper, magazine, blog posts) that relate to issues or ideas in the unit of study. Students...

One Comment One Question

  • Reflection
  • Synthesis
In this activity, adapted from Gallagher’s Deeper Reading (2004), students will write a comment or question based on the reading. The purpose of the activity is for students to review content by participating...

One-Sentence Summaries

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis
In this activity, inspired by Burke’s The English Teacher’s Companion (1998), students will summarize main ideas and vital details in one sentence. There are five different types of one-sentence summaries:...

Open Mind

In this activity students will infer the thoughts or feelings of a character in a text. Students will represent those thoughts or feelings with symbols, words, or drawings. This activity should be followed up...

Oral Histiory

The purpose of this activity is to provide an opportunity for students to gain a deeper understanding of the time period in which the text is set. Students will use questioning strategies to interview people...

Order of Importance

In this activity students will rank information from a text by order of importance. This activity helps students to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information. Sorting relevant and irrelevant...

Outline Preview

  • Investigation
Through this activity, students preview the content of a text by examining an outline, and making prediction about the content that will fill out the outline. They are then better prepared to understand and...

Paragraph Frames

  • Investigation
Paragraph Frames provide a scaffold for students as they attempt to organize their ideas coherently within the structure of a well-crafted paragraph. Teachers create “frames” of incomplete sentences that...

Paragraph Shrinking

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis
Paragraph Shrinking promotes reading comprehension in a collaborative, small-group setting. Students take turns reading text, pausing, and summarizing the main points of each paragraph, and provide each other...

Perspective Setting Drawings

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis
Through this activity, students visualize and then draw a primary place of the story, from the point of view of at least 2 characters. This activity helps students to imagine the setting more fully and more...