Lesson design

There are many factors that influence the choice of lesson structure such as school policy, the topic to be delivered, pedagogical considerations, the cohort of students and resources available.

Topics should be delivered in a logical sequence, and serve to build your students’ understanding, fluency, reasoning and problem-solving skills over time. There are different models that can be used when planning a unit or a lesson. Your school may already have a model for you to follow.

The resources listed below are evidence-based tools for planning units and lessons that engage and promote student learning. Planning collaboratively as a team has benefits; sharing the workload and expertise, developing clarity around content coverage, and sharing resources and effective teaching approaches.

Teaching strategies


The high impact teaching strategies (HITS) are 10 instructional practices that increase student learning. The HITS are evidence-based, drawing on research both in Australia and internationally.

The practices include: setting goals, structuring lessons, explicit teaching, worked examples, questioning, metacognitive strategies and differentiated teaching.

A guide to the high impact teaching strategies (HITS)

The high impact teaching strategies (HITS) are 10 instructional practices that increase student learning. The HITS are evidence-based, drawing on research both in Australia and internationally.
The practices include: setting goals, structuring lessons, explicit teaching, worked examples, questioning, metacognitive strategies and differentiated teaching.

High impact teaching strategies (HITS)

This site has descriptions explaining all the HITS and provides links to research and videos.

Sometimes called the ‘I do, We do, You do’ model, explicit teaching is a gradual-release model where the teacher explicitly teaches a concept, works through examples with the class and then the students work on their own, or in groups. The class then come together to review their questions and understanding.

Explicit teaching – numeracy example

An AITSL illustration of practice that follows a teacher in designing and implementing explicit mathematical learning experiences for her year 3-4 class.

Tried and tested – Explicit Instruction

This research article describes a set of teaching practices that have been found to improve student achievement by making instruction explicit.

Understanding by Design is a framework for planning that consists of three stages:

  1. Identify the desired outcomes – what part of the curriculum are you covering?
  2. Identify the evidence that will demonstrate these outcomes have been met – how will students show they have mastered the content?
  3. Plan learning activities that will lead to the desired outcomes – what will the lesson contain?

Understanding by Design

This page clearly explains the structure and rationale behind Understanding by Design (UbD). There is a video of Grant Wiggins, the co-creator of UbD.

Using a prompt to ignite students’ curiosity, a maths inquiry allows students to explore ideas and find meaning in the mathematics concepts they are learning in the classroom. They engage in questioning, conjecturing, listening and communicating their ideas.

reSolve Protocol

The reSolve: Mathematics by Inquiry Protocol promotes structured and purposeful investigations of mathematical and realistic contexts. The Protocol provides a set of principles that underpins the reSolve Professional and Teaching resources, including descriptions of excellence in mathematics teaching and learning.

reSolve Authentic Inquiry

Here you will find a description of the ‘4D Guided Inquiry model’ with four phases – Discover, Devise, Develop and Defend. There are links to ten developed units of inquiry for Foundation to Year 6.

Existing templates can be adapted and modified to suit different contexts and needs.

P–10 Mathematics planning resources

These templates developed by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority provide an example of how to plan a mathematics curriculum based on the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics.

Mathematics mapping templates

These templates developed by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority provide an example of how to plan a mathematics curriculum. They help teachers identify the extent of curriculum coverage in units of work and to link teaching, learning and assessment while working with the curriculum continuum.