Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Walking the Line: The Math Spectrum

A Mathematical Growth Mindset

Brittany VanCleave, Brittany VanCleave, Teresa Kavanaugh | Published: November 18th, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
  • Subject Subject Mathematics
  • Course Course Algebra 2, Geometry, Middle School Mathematics, Precalculus
  • Time Frame Time Frame 1-2 class period(s)
  • Duration More 90 minutes


This lesson focuses on eliminating the emotional fear of mathematics by allowing students to evaluate where they are on the math spectrum and identify their goals moving forward. Students explore math concepts taught in past years and analyze their math knowledge to assess their relationship with mathematics. By allowing students to understand their emotional relationship with mathematics, set goals, and identify barriers, the lesson fosters a growth mindset moving forward. This lesson can be implemented at many different grade levels ranging from middle school through high school. This lesson includes optional modifications for distance learning. Resources for use in Google Classroom are included.

Essential Question(s)

What is the relationship between students’ mathematical knowledge and their perception of mathematics? How can this perception be used to develop a growth mindset?



Students reflect on a video and place their initial self-assessment of their mathknowledge on a spectrum line.


Students research mathematical concepts learned in previous courses to expand theirknowledge on the topic.


Students present their findings to a peer and then to the whole class.


Students create a plan with strategies to promote individual growth and success in the math classroom in the coming school year. Students also identify their past barriers in order to overcome them in thefuture.


Students assess their newfound relationship with math through an Exit Ticket.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Math Goal Setting handout (attached)

  • Math Concepts Research and Presentation handout (attached)

  • Brain Dump handout (attached)

  • Exit Ticket handout (attached; optional)

  • Spectrum line (tape, string, interactive whiteboard, etc., or whatever you choose)

  • Student devices with internet access

  • Sticky notes

  • Markers


Math Spectrum Line Sample #1: Does not have any standards associated with it and is created using rope or string and displayed in your room. During the Engage, students will place a sticky note where they think they belong.