Conduct a Lesson Study Cycle on Fractions

Lesson Study works best with rich subject content. This course offers step-by-step support to conduct a Lesson Study cycle on fractions, by providing fractions resources and research to examine.


15-20 hours


Your fractions curriculum, adding machine tape

Overview | Purpose


Whether experienced or new, Lesson Study teams face the challenge of finding high-quality resources to study and leverage into effective research lessons. This course provides full content support for an elementary-grades Lesson Study cycle on fractions.

The course is based on the fractions toolkit used by Lesson Study teams in a randomized controlled trial that significantly increased students’ fractions knowledge. (A research review identified the study as one of only two, of more than 600 studies reviewed, to demonstrate impact on students.)

To review the original fraction toolkit produced for the randomized controlled trial and funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Grant No. R305A150043, click here.

In this course, you will conduct a full Lesson Study cycle, as you:

  • Examine fractions resources—including research, standards, curriculum materials, and lesson videos 
  • Solve fractions tasks and anticipate student solution methods
  • Plan a fractions unit and teach at least one lesson within it as a research lesson
  • Observe the research lesson, with a focus on student thinking
  • Share and discuss data from the lesson

What is the Structure of the Course?

The chart lays out the course content and number of sessions for each part of the Lesson Study cycle. Download a PDF of the structure of the course here.

Module Course Content Number of 1 – 1.5 Hour Sessions


Lay the groundwork for Lesson Study

Learn about Lesson Study, set agendas and norms for working together, and access a template to record your work 0-2 sessions


Explore fractions content and study student thinking

Part 1Explore student challenges with fractions

4-5 sessions

Part 2Examine different fraction models and investigate a linear model using the “Mystery Strip”

Part 3Examine video and curriculum that introduces fractions using a linear model

Part 4Examine video and curriculum that introduces equivalent fractions through linear model


Design the research lesson

Use learning from the Study phase to plan your fractions unit and research lesson

2-3 sessions


Conduct and observe the research lesson

One team member teaches the research lesson, while others observe and record student thinking

30 minutes + 1 class period


Review learning from the research lesson and cycle

Conduct a post-lesson discussion to share and discuss data from the lesson and an end-of-cycle reflection meeting, to consolidate learning from the cycle.

1 session on same day as lesson

1 session up to 1 week later