Ch. 18 Understanding by Design

Unit and Lesson Planning


What do you want your students to know and be able to do by the end of a unit of instruction, class, program of study…? How do you identify learning goals? Do the activities you assign actually help students meet those goals?

Watch this video lecture (2:46 minutes)

[MSU Graduate School]. (Aug. 26,2013). What is Backward Design?.[Video File]. Retrieved from

The three main areas of the unit plan:

Identified Desired Results

To what extent are the targeted enduring understanding transferable, specific enough to guide teaching and assessment and framed by provocative essential question?

Assessment Evidence

To what extent do the assessments provide valid and reliable measures of the targeted understanding, opportunities for students to exhibit their understanding through authentic performance assessments, sufficient and varied information to support inferences about each student’s understanding?

Planning Learning Experiences and Instruction

To what extent do the brainstormed sequence of the main activities in the unit include instructional materials and resources for the selected content, the instructional strategies to engage, motivate, and support students, and the activities that students will perform to become more skilled and knowledgeable about the enduring understandings and specific content.

*Adapted from The Understanding By Design Handbook by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins.

The Backward Design Template

Backward Design Template with Descriptions (click link for template with descriptions).

Granite State College, School of Education  UbD Template for Math Unit Development    –   This is the template you will use to plan your math unit. Save it as a MS Word Document before submitting.

study math

Next Steps:  Teacher Designed Module on UbD and Teaching Mathematics

Go to and work through this online module


UbD graphic is from: Don Glass, P. (n.d). Curriculum Design for Inclusive Arts Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from OER Commons:

Other graphics are from Pixabay- public domain