Learning Challenge Lessons, Elementary

20 Lessons to Guide Young Learners Through the Learning Pit

Jill Nottingham ,

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Learning Challenge Lessons, Elementary: 20 Lessons to Guide Young Learners Through the Learning Pit

About the eBook

"James Nottingham’s work on Challenging Learning is a critical element of creating Visible Learners. This new series will help teachers hone the necessary pedagogical skills of dialogue, feedback, questioning, and mindset. There’s no better resource to encourage all learners to know and maximize their impact!"

John Hattie, Professor & Director, Melbourne Education Research Institute
University of Melbourne

Looking for more examples and more lesson plans to get started with Learning Challenges? Help is here!

Created to accompany The Learning Challenge, the twenty lessons collected in this book grapple with timely concepts and provide teachers with everything needed to run thoughtful, dialogue-driven challenges for elementary school students. Each lesson engages students around an exciting topic of current importance—including social media, voting, health, friendship, space exploration, language, fairness, and other issues—and invites students into the "Learning Pit" to explore their thoughts with others through dialogue.


The developmentally-appropriate lessons plans are designed to help young learners

  • Learn new vocabulary in the context of dialogue
  • Challenge themselves to think through complex concepts
  • Follow their natural curiosity and seek answers to questions they pose themselves
  • Think critically about issues and discover alternative viewpoints
  • Explore disagreements reasonably and co-create meaning with others

Detailed lesson plans make it easy for teachers to facilitate rigorous and thought-provoking dialogue for students. Teacher resources include

  • Activities to help students progress from surface level thinking to deeper understanding
  • Techniques to get students "into the pit," where contradictions and uncertainties force deeper thinking—and then out of the pit again
  • Full-color activity cards to accompany each lesson 
  • Diagrams to help illustrate relationships between concepts for students

Each compelling topic challenges young students to think, to be reasonable, to make moral decisions, and to understand another person’s point of view—all critical skills in today’s complex world. Jumpstart meaningful learning for students with these rigorous and engaging Learning Challenge lessons.

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