Understanding by design stage 1 bestprep tiw monday july 30 2012
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What is UbD?. Understanding By Design Stage 1 BestPrep TIW Monday, July 30, 2012. UbD Planning. Traditional Lesson Planning. Understand the Standards and Core Curriculum. Find Cool Activities to Use in the Class. Figure out How to Teach and Grade Activities.

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Understanding By Design Stage 1 BestPrep TIW Monday, July 30, 2012

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What is UbD?

Understanding By Design

Stage 1

BestPrep TIW

Monday, July 30, 2012

UbD Planning

Traditional Lesson Planning

Understand the Standards and Core Curriculum

Find Cool Activities to Use in the Class

Figure out How to Teach and Grade Activities

Plan for Students’ Learning and Understanding

Develop Cool Activities to Use in the Class that Stay with the Student FOREVER!

Align Activities to the Standards and Core Curriculum

What is Understanding by Design?

What You Need to do for Your Lesson Plan

Stage 1– Establishing what is to be learned.

Stage 2– Determine how the learning is accomplished.

Stage 3– Develop the COOL learning activities.

Don’t forget about technology integration!

Complete your unit/ lesson plan and supplements. Have them ready by Thursday afternoon!

BestPrep Technology Lesson Library

Unit/Lesson Plan Template

Established Goals

National Organizations

Minnesota State Standards

Local District Standards

Unit/Lesson Plan Template

Stage 1

Establishing what

is to be learned.

  • Step 1: Enduring Understandings

  • Step 2: Essential Questions

  • Step 3: Key Knowledge and Skills

Enduring Understandings

  • Big ideas that we want students to “get inside of” and retain after the details are forgotten.

  • Provide a larger purpose for learning the targeted content: they implicitly answer the question, “Why is this topic worth studying?”

Enduring Understandings

They are the unit concepts that:

  • Have lasting value beyond the classroom

  • Will be retained after the details have been forgotten

  • Reside at the heart of the discipline

  • Uncover the concept by “doing” the subject

  • Offer potential for engaging students

Overarching vs. TopicalUnderstandings

  • Overarching Understandings:

    • present enduring, big ideas having lasting value beyond the classroom

    • state big ideas and core processes at the heart of a discipline or program

    • can be revisited

  • Topical Understandings:

    • specific to the unit/lesson

Enduring Understandings

  • Should not…

    • Be a phrase

    • Refer to big ideas, but offer no specific claims

    • Simply state straightforward facts, inquiry is required

    • Fail to specify what we want the learner to understand

    • Refer to a set of skills, but should offer transferable strategies or principles

  • Should…

    • Use complete sentences

    • Specify something to be understood

    • Focus on big ideas that are abstract and transferable

    • Have the understanding be uncovered, because it is abstract and not immediately obvious

Sample Enduring Understandings

  • Writing from another person’s point of view can help us to better understand the world, ourselves, and others.

  • Sometimes a correct mathematical answer is not the best solution to messy, “real-world” problems.

  • Cultural customs in the Hispanic countries regarding interactions between individuals determine if conversation is formal and informal.

Filters for Enduring Understandings:

  • Have enduring value beyond the classroom

  • Reside at the heart of the discipline

    • involve doing the subject

  • Require an un-coverage

    • of abstract or often misunderstood ideas

    • self-discovery

  • Engage students

Enduring Understandings

  • Write the “Enduring Understandings” students should achieve in the unit.

  • Make sure they pass the filters!

  • These Enduring Understandings will be included in the final unit/lesson plan.

Step 2: Essential Questions

  • Point to the heart of the discipline

  • Recur naturally

  • Raise other important questions

  • Provide subject- and topic- specific doorways to enduring understandings

  • Have no obvious “right” answer

  • Are deliberately framed to provoke and sustain student interest

Tips for using Essential Questions

Organize programs, courses, units of study, and lessons around the questions.

Select or design assessment tasks that are explicitly linked to the questions.

Edit the questions to make them as engaging and provocative as possible for the particular age group.

Derive and design specific concrete exploratory activities and inquiries for each question.

Good essential questions:




Lead to argument / discussion

Provoke inquiry

Overarching vs. Topical

What is unique about the mystery genre?

Does separation of powers create a deadlock?

How do the structure and behavior of insects enable them to survive?

What do masks and their use reveal about the culture?

How do effective writers hook and hold their readers?

Is history the story told by the “winners”?

How are materials recycled or disposed of?

Does art have a message?

Examples of Essential Questions

  • Why do laws change?

  • How are sounds and silence organized in various musical forms?

  • To what extent can use of formal and informal conversation techniques demonstrate cultural understanding?

Writing Essential Questions

  • Start your questions with:

    • Why…? (cause/effect)

    • How…? (process)

    • To what extent…? (matters of degree or kind)

  • Avoid starting your questions with:

    • “What…?”

Essential Questions

  • Write the “Essential Questions” that point toward the big ideas and the enduring understandings in your unit.

  • These Essential Questions will be included in the final lesson plan.

Step 3: Knowledge & Skills

  • Knowledge is what they will know.

  • Skills are what they will be able to do.




Key factual information


Critical details

Important events and people

Sequence and timelines

Basic skills

Communication skills

Thinking skills

Research, inquiry, investigation skills

Study skills

Interpersonal, group skills

Technology skills

Key Knowledge and Skills




of Understanding





Knowledge and Skills

  • Write the Knowledge and Skills students need for your unit.

  • Keep the following questions in mind:

    • What knowledge and skills must students learn to:

      • Develop the desired understandings?

      • Answer the Essential Questions?

    • What “Facets of Understanding” will be used in the lesson/unit?

  • These will be included in the final lesson plan.

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