Lesson Planning with AI in My Grade 5 Classroom

By Kathleen Palmieri

As I began to plan for the new school year, I explored using ChatGPT, the generative chatbot from Open AI. It was my first exploration into what was new technology for me.

Beginning slowly to work with this new tool, I created simple things such as composing an email and my back-to-school introductory letter. To say I was amazed is an understatement.

Soon I was diving deeper. I wondered what it could do for subject areas I teach such as fifth grade math and social studies.

As I described in my August article Make AI Work for You as You Prep for Fall, I queried ChatGPT for “ideas to help students refresh math facts” and was pleasantly surprised with the list of 15 suggestions presented.

As I continued to explore, I began to expand my knowledge and skills using more subject area input. ChatGPT is a fun and useful resource for lesson planning. (In the following examples, just click to enlarge each chatbot dialogue.)

More Math Examples and Activities

Using the objectives for my math lesson, I input “Use patterns and the properties of multiplication to calculate a product when multiplying by a power of 10, use whole number exponents to write powers of 10.” Once I submitted my message, the following explanation appeared:
Notice the word “Regenerate” in the bottom right corner. If you click this it refreshes your input and comes up with a renewed response. The AI provides a response, but then also asks, “Is there a specific example you’d like me to demonstrate?” Essentially you can input any problem from a math textbook or lesson for demonstration. I input “Please demonstrate how 10^0 is 1”. This was the AI response:

Next, I input, “activities to round decimals.” Below are two of the eight suggested activities.

Finally, I wanted more practice math problems to help reinforce the skill of ordering decimals. I input, “I need word problems to help reinforce the skill of ordering decimals.” AI offered eight word problems. Three are shown below.

AI Help for Social Studies

In social studies I wanted to explore landforms and waterways in the United States and Canada. My input was again taken from the objectives of the lessons. First, I input “geographic facts about the United States and Canada.” A sampling of the facts, three of seven, is shown below for each:

Out of curiosity, I input “differences between states and provinces.”

Finally, my social studies students are reading a complex story that is supplemented by a famous speech by Chief Joseph. I wanted to provide some background knowledge of this famous person, so I input “Pretend you are Chief Joseph and answer students’ questions in a way fifth grade students would understand.” The response below is engaging and provided a kid friendly look into Chief Joseph. Any historical character can be inserted for grade level understanding of their speech, life, or actions. I found this response to be amazing:

AI Is a Tool, Not a Teacher

While I love using and experimenting with the various forms of AI, I do realize there has been a lot of discussion recently about how AI could change education as we know it. More specifically, some feel that it could potentially replace teachers. I do not foresee this happening as teachers provide much more than facts and rote knowledge. Also, the human elements of caring, compassion and patience to name a few, cannot be replaced by artificial intelligence.

AI should be viewed exactly as it is – an advanced technology tool that can help research and build activities and lessons, as well as provide facts and practice. Let’s not forget it is not foolproof and needs the teacher’s human eye to determine its value and accuracy.

AI takes from the information of yesterday, and teachers are creating in the present, looking forward, and helping our students grow using the elements of what, when, and how as they learn new knowledge.

While I’ll continue to explore and enhance my lessons with the latest technology, my creativity and knowledge of my students will still be forefront in my lesson planning.

Kathleen Palmieri is a National Board Certified Teacher and NBCT Professional Learning facilitator. She is a fifth grade educator in upstate New York who reviews and writes regularly for MiddleWeb. With a passion for literacy and learning in the classroom, she participates in various writing workshops, curriculum writing endeavors, and math presentations. As a lifelong learner, she is an avid reader and researcher of educational practices and techniques. Collaborating with colleagues and globally on X (formerly Twitter) and expanding her education adventures at www.kathleenpalmieri.com are ongoing practices.

Feature image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay


MiddleWeb is all about the middle grades, with great 4-8 resources, book reviews, and guest posts by educators who support the success of young adolescents. And be sure to subscribe to MiddleWeb SmartBrief for the latest middle grades news & commentary from around the USA.

1 Response

  1. Anne Jolly says:

    Thanks for sharing some reasons and how-to for embracing current technology instead of fighting it. (Ignoring technology is a losing battle!)

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