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Updated by th01658 on Jun 07, 2017
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21st Century 3rd-Grade Learners

This list of lesson plans help teach the 8 skills for 21st century learners. Each skill is provided a lesson plan that teaches the




Unique Monique: Building a Community of Unique Individuals

This purpose of this lesson is to build a caring community within a classroom. The lesson will encourage students to identify their unique talents, abilities, and strengths and thereby increase self-confidence. The lesson will also encourage students to identify how their classmates’ unique talents, abilities, and strengths add to the learning environment. Hopefully, after discussing and celebrating the unique qualities evident among the classroom, students will develop greater respect for and acceptance of others. Additionally, I will use this lesson to strengthen the students understanding of their own unique traits, particularly, what it means to be a leader.


Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy

The Share Jumper Game

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3-8, students use BrainPOP resources (including a free online game) to practice identifying the when and hows about sharing information online. This lesson calls for students to learn about information privacy and when it is ok to share and not to share information through social media.




Senior Pals: Bridging the Generation Gap with Technology

An emotional meeting of senior citizens and their fourth-grade e-pals was the culminating event of a project initiated by teacher Jim Flack at North Elementary School in Lancaster, Ohio. This lesson helps students develop communication skills with a previous generation, that grew up without technology. They must learn communication skills in order to complete the assignment.


Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

Making and Keeping Friends: Social Skills and Diversity

This lesson, designed for Elementary students, helps them learn the concept of body language and personal space. Through reading a text, and then reflecting upon their own examples of body language, students learn how they communicate without even saying a word.




Ben Queen, Ben Queen Photography

This lesson plan focuses on students using their creativity to find ways to use everyday resources in new and interesting way. The feature of the lesson plan, Ben Queen, used social media to make money. Through the skills any entrepreneur has, innovation, creativity, passion, and drive, we learn how we can also use social media to make money.


Global Citizenship

Global Citizenship

Collaborate 21 Amazing Animals.
This group project involved having second graders read, research, write and publish what they learned about habitats and animals. It was designed by tech integration specialist Jana Gudmundsen, teacher Sarah Kastner, library media specialist Rochelle Kovarik and principal Brenda Nilson from Park River Area Elementary School in North Dakota.

Students began by researching an animal’s habitat study, followed by doing a book study of an established author to build background for exploration of habitats and animals. They learned the research and writing process before compiling and presenting their findings.

The students worked in small groups using Padlet, a virtual bulletin board, to communicate how their animal interacts in its habitat and with other animals. Then they created a Puppet Pals video that highlighted their animals’ interactions within its habitat.

This well-researched and designed project addresses multiple standards:

Reading for understanding, writing, speaking and listening (CCSS).
Observing plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats forms the backbone of the specific content (Next Generation Science Standards).
Creativity and Innovation (ISTE Standards for Students).
Research and Information Fluency (ISTE Standards for Students).
Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility (ISTE Standards for Teachers).

This is another fantastically flexible project. The reading, writing and publishing aspects could be a template for projects across disciplines and grade levels.


Problem Solving

Problem Solving

Programmable Night Light.
Need a good night’s sleep? Maybe all you need is your own nightlight. David Held created a project that had his students designing 3D nightlights, printing them on 3D printers and then programming them. The project teaches design principles, programming, electronics and engineering.

Students used a free 3D design software, such as Tinkercad, 123D Design or Project Shapeshifter, to create their design, produce it on a 3D printer and install electronic components.

Students created their nightlights for a “proposed user,” which prompted them to imagine how to meet the needs of that specific client. They also demonstrated knowledge of hardware, software and design, using mathematics and technology skills in the process.

This project addresses a wide range of standards, including:

Modeling (CCSS).
Solving algebraic equations (CCSS).
Representing vector and matrix quantities (CCSS).
Solving real-life problems using algebraic structures (CCSS).
Integrating and presenting knowledge and ideas (CCSS).
Creativity and Innovation (ISTE Standards for Students).
Communication and Collaboration (ISTE Standards for Students).
Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making (ISTE Standards for Students).

If ever there was a clear project that put the A in STEAM, this is it!




Tale of Electricity.
Fourth graders from Hardin County Schools in Kentucky researched, solved, engineered and presented solutions to electricity-related problems in this engaging, multidimensional project created by Jamie Chenault.

To set the tone, Chenault began by holding inspiring “kitchen table discussions” using prompts, such as the Thomas Edison quote, “I haven’t failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that do not work.”

Then students got to work, using Instagrok, a tool that creates interactive concept maps to research the principles of electricity. When they type in a topic, Instagrok creates a mind map to help them organize and make sense of the vast information available.

Next, Chenault gave students a collection of materials, including some that wouldn’t work, and asked them to complete as many circuits as they could. Students solved problems related to circuits, static electricity and switches.

Bearing in mind the Edison quote about perseverance, students recorded their successes and troubles and documented the process with photos and videos. Later, groups publish their results using Storyjumper, a tool that creates illustrated books that can be printed or shared online.

Chenault evaluated students using a rubric that measured individual progress as well as group contributions.

This project clearly addresses standards across multiple disciplines, including literacy, science and engineering, language arts, and potentially mathematics. It also clearly addresses the ISTE Standards for Students, as students collaborate on creative solutions to problems as well as presentation strategies.

I like that this project involves a rigorous approach to hands-on learning and is accessible to all levels of learners. You can expand the connectivity by challenging other classes from other schools, states or countries to solve electricity problems your students present and vice-versa.