Math Lesson Planning Utilizing ChatGPT

When ChatGPT emerged on the scene, concerns arose among our English and social studies instructors. How would this impact their approach to teaching writing? For a while, I brushed ChatGPT aside and considered it a mere tool for assisting students with writing. Like Mathway, an English equivalent that math educators have a love-hate relationship with due to its problem-solving capabilities for students. However, like any new technology, both have their place in the classroom when used effectively.

Since its introduction, we have discovered more educational applications for ChatGPT, especially in terms of supporting teachers with their extensive responsibilities. This got me thinking… could ChatGPT be used in math class?

Artificial intelligence (AI) provides math teachers with a way to answer every teacher’s favorite question: “When am I ever going to need this?” By using specific prompts and sequencing questions, math teachers can establish real-world connections to the math topics they are teaching, relate them to student interests, and develop various instructional materials for classroom use.

AI as a Search Engine

Throughout the school year, you become familiar with your students—their interests and aspirations. Whether through formal surveys or general classroom observation, you have gathered knowledge about the topics they find relevant and what piques their interest the most. Teachers can leverage this information when filtering results in ChatGPT.

Filtering by topic leading to interest: Begin with a broad question like, “What are real-life applications of polynomials?” Then, narrow down the applications that are most relevant to teenagers. From the suggestions, choose those that align best with your students’ interests, such as computer graphics and video game design.

Filtering by interest leading to topic: Start with a specific student interest, like buying a car for the first time, and ask AI to help you find relevant connections to the content. You may discover various content connections you never expected. Don’t let the overwhelming options deter you. Instead, use AI to assist in creating instructional materials.

AI as a Math Content Creator

Now that you have identified the idea you want to explore, it is time to create the lesson. As you may not have an in-depth understanding of the explicit connections between the math content and the topic, you can use AI to help create engaging content for your students.

Creating questions: At its most basic level, ChatGPT and other AI sources can aid in writing a series of word problems that connect the topic and content. These problems can be incorporated into homework assignments, partner tasks, or warm-ups.

Tips for prompting AI: Include the general content topic or topics your students are interested in, as well as the content topic or standard you are addressing.

Performance tasks: ChatGPT can also be utilized to explore the creation of various performance tasks, where students engage in higher-order critical thinking to apply mathematics. These tasks can be designed with or without scaffolding.

Projects: I have found that projects and project-based learning activities can be developed in less than half the time when incorporating AI. Easily outline a project, select criteria for assessment, and use AI to help write a rubric. Finally, gather the necessary materials and bring the project to life in your classroom! For example, I created a project focused on geometry, art, and culture.

Inquiry-based activities: Developing students’ critical thinking skills and their ability to use mathematics for problem-solving and data analysis is crucial. AI can assist in creating inquiry-based activities to enhance students’ quantitative literacy skills. I used ChatGPT to create an activity based on the U.S. Census.

AI as a Math Lesson Designer

Similar to other subject areas, AI proves to be a valuable tool for math teachers in lesson planning. Math teachers can rely on artificial intelligence to design essential questions, create standards-aligned lesson plans complete with practice problems, remediation, and extension opportunities, and conclude lessons with exit tickets.

Tips for prompting AI: Begin by using AI to co-draft an essential question for a lesson. Once established, prompt AI to provide example problems that can kickstart your thought process. When you find an example you like, ask AI how to create similar problems for supporting remediation and extension opportunities.

When designing standards-aligned lessons, it is essential to consider the explicit rigor component expressed in a standard. Each type of rigor lends itself to different instructional models. AI aids teachers in crafting lesson plans that address each aspect of rigor within a standard, resulting in a comprehensive approach to lesson design.

Tips for prompting AI: You can prompt AI to help you develop a lesson plan structure for each emphasis of rigor addressed in your standard. Once identified, AI can assist in creating a time-specific lesson plan that aligns with conceptual development, procedural skills, or applications of standards.

AI as an aid to Human Intelligence

While there is no doubt that AI has impressive potential in supporting math teachers with various tasks, it is important to remember the importance of the human touch. Using AI as a starting point, teachers can utilize their knowledge of their students’ interests and skills to design lessons and activities that meet their specific needs. The ability of the teacher to connect students and standards is what truly makes the learning experience impactful, not just the quick design process facilitated by AI.