Source:  Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. Understanding by Design. Merrill Prentice Hall: 1998.
                For further information about Backward Design refer to


Title: Changing Seasons                 Subject/Course:  Mathematics                                         Topic:  Time   Grade(s): MOID 6-8    Designer(s):  Susan Kelly (originally created by A. Little) 

Stage 1 Desired Results

Established Goal(s)

Grade K Mathematics, Geometry and Spatial Sense

QCC Standard:   Recognizes terms of time periods such as yesterday, today, tomorrow, morning, afternoon, night, week, and seasons. 

Understanding(s) Students will understand that...

1.  Understand the meaning of takes less time than, and takes more time than.

2.  Understand the meaning of time.

Essential Question(s)

1.      What is a season?

2.   What are the four seasons?

3.   What does an apple tree look like during each season?

4.   If  you go to an apple orchard today, what would the apple tree look like?

5.   How will your clothing change each season?


Students will know...  there are four seasons in a year and that as the weather changes so does the appearance of an apple tree.



Students will be able to... Identify the four seasons and the characteristics of each one.


Stage 2 Assessment Evidence


Performance Task(s) Summary in G.R.A.S.P.S. form

1.      Students will complete a booklet showing how an apple tree looks each season of the year.

2.   Students will draw a picture of themselves outside.  The picture will contain their house, plants, and trees, and will depict clothing they might wear during that season.

3.   Students will verbally name the four seasons.




Key Criteria:

 Verbal test, completed booklet and drawing

Other Evidence

Students will be asked to identify "the season" when shown photographs or pictures.

Reminder about CSU Visit 



Stage 3 Learning Plan

Learning Activities Consider the W.H.E.R.E.T.O. elements.


These activities will occur over 3-5 days and may require assistance:


1.       Ask the students what they know about the weather during winter, spring, summer and fall.   Ask them if they have ever noticed changes in plants or trees and if their clothing changes when the weather or seasons change.  Write their responses on the board and use them to create descriptive sentences about each season and a title page.  These will be used by the students later.

2.   Have students look out the classroom window and describe how the plants and trees look.  Discuss student responses and help them identify the appropriate season.

3.   Read the book, The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons to the class.  Compare the students responses on the board to the changes in the book.

4.   Explain to students that will be making a book like the story..  Pass out light blue construction paper pre-folded (three half-sheets of paper).

5.   Show students how and where to trace their non-dominant hand and wrist on the construction paper.  This will become the trunk and branches of the trees.  Have students color the trees brown with a marker.

6.   After the students have colored the tree trunks and branches brown, allow them to create trees for each season as follows:  Winter - use a Q-tip to apply white paint like snow in the sky and on the tree branches; Spring - sponge paint the tree green and after it has dried use a Q-tip to add pink or white blossoms to the tree; Summer - sponge paint the tree green and after it has dried use a Q-tip to add red apples to the tree; and, Fall - sponge paint the tree golden yellow with some of the leaves falling to the ground and after it has dried use a Q-tip to add red apples to the tree.

7.   Let the students match the descriptions to their trees, applying the descriptions with glue on the left page when the booklet is opened.  The description will be opposite the tree.

8.   Review the booklets and have students share them with the class.

9.   Provide students with drawing paper.  Ask them to draw a picture of their house, the trees and plants in their yard, and themselves dressed for the season you have assigned to them.  Have the students identify all of the requirements in their picture.

10. Arrange the pictures in the classroom for discussion as the seasons change throughout the school year.




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