Lesson Types

NextLesson offers a variety of lesson types for teachers to choose from. Our lessons can be used to: 

  • build skills during a single lesson period, or 
  • apply a range of skills in an authentic context using our applied learning resources


Skill Builders

These are real-world-inspired online lessons that focus on the practice of a key skill. They are designed to take one class period and require students to actively participate in some way. You can find Activities for ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies.

Rank & Reason
Rank & Reason is a tool that can be used for students to rank their answers to a given question. They practice skills around critical thinking, reasoning and justification, and discussion and tend to take around one class period. It is best used for questions with no correct answer where students must justify their choices with evidence and engage in discussions. Curated Rank & Reason lessons are available that are mapped to standards and cover engaging topics. 

Engaging Short Skill Builders
These are real-world lessons that focus on the practice of a critical skill. They are designed to allow students to be self-led over one class period. However, many also include teacher guidance to introduce an instructional element. Real World Skill Builders follow one of several formats:

  • Essentials 
    Students answer questions and undertake tasks in a real-world scenario or relating to a real-world topic. The focus is on the repeated practice of a skill.
    Available in Math grades K-3 and ELA grades K-6.
  • Choose Your Own Journey
    Students answer questions focused on a single skill with increasing difficulty. After each result, they gain information to help them determine their location in a mystery country.
    Available in Math grades 6-12.
  • Crime Scene Decoder - Case Crackers
    Students answer questions focused on a skill to piece together clues and solve a theft.
    Available in Math grades 3-12 and ELA grades 7-12.
  • Crime Scene Decoders 
    Students answer challenging questions built around a traditional unit of content. After solving problems at each crime scene, they can determine the criminal's identity.
    Available in Math grades 3-12.
  • Profile Puzzles
    Students answer questions focused on a skill to gather information about an important and influential person.
    Available in Math grades 3-12 and coming soon in ELA.
  • Real World Investigation
    Students encounter a single real-world challenge in which they must make a decision or recommendation after analyzing the evidence.
    Available in Math grades 9-12.

Applied Learning

Performance Tasks
Performance Tasks require students to apply standards-based skills in a real-world context using real data or information. These tasks use engaging topics students care about, such as sports, music, books, or movies. Performance Tasks are designed to be modular so that teachers can use them for a single class period or stretched out across several periods.

ELA Performance Tasks
ELA Performance Tasks focus on one of the three main text types: informative, opinion/argument, and narrative. Students are presented with a model text they annotate before answering reading questions. They then complete a short writing task and a speaking and listening activity before completing the final extended writing task. The tasks are intended to build student competency but can also be considered modular, meaning not all parts of the task need to be completed.
Available for grades 3-12.

Math Performance Tasks 
Math Performance Tasks start with repeated practice of a core skill before moving to a second skill using higher-order questioning and application. Students are then presented with a challenge designed to reach Webb's Depth of Knowledge Level 3, and often requires students to reason and justify using mathematical evidence. Each task ends with a cross-curricular or project extension allowing the tasks to be developed further.
Available for grades 3-12.

K-2 Cross-Curricular Performance Tasks
In the primary grades, our Performance Tasks start with repeated practice of a math skill before integrating a second math skill with a requirement of higher-order thinking. The premise is then extended through speaking, listening, and, finally, a composition task.

NextLesson Projects are extended lesson plans that connect to the real world and are designed to be compatible with a project-based learning environment. They cover a variety of subjects and topic areas across grades K-12 and encompass the NextLesson Project Key Components.

Projects typically take 5 hours of class time but can be extended to last several weeks.



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