ALEX Lesson Plan


Dewey Decimal Goes to Math Class

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Lynda Wilder
System: Blount County
School: Hayden Middle School
Author:Rebecca Maniscalco
System: Blount County
School: Cleveland High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 32147


Dewey Decimal Goes to Math Class


Math students take an onsite field trip to the library (media center) to meet the Dewey decimal system.   An "Essential Question" will be used to a set the purpose for understanding why we use the dewey decimal system. Students will compare and order decimals based on the dewey decimal system.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
IL (K-12)
1. The student who is information literate accesses information efficiently and effectively.
  • Recognizes the need for information.
  • Recognizes that accurate and comprehensive information is the basis for intelligent decision making.
  • Formulates questions based on information needs.
  • Identifies a variety of potential sources of information.
  • Develops and uses successful strategies for locating information.
  • IL (K-12)
    3. The student who is information literate uses information accurately and creatively.
  • Organizes information for practical application.
  • Integrates new information into one's own knowledge.
  • Applies information in critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Produces and communicates information and ideas in appropriate formats.
  • IL (K-12)
    9. The student who contributes positively to the learning community and to society is information literate and participates effectively in groups to pursue and generate information.
  • Shares knowledge and information with others.
  • Respects others' ideas and backgrounds and acknowledges their contributions
  • Collaborates with others, both in person and through technologies, to identify information problems and to seek their solutions.
  • Collaborates with others, both in person and through technologies to design, develop, and evaluate information products and solutions.
  • MA2015 (5)
    4. Recognize that in a multi-digit number, a digit in one place represents 10 times as much as it represents in the place to its right and 1/10 of what it represents in the place to its left. [5-NBT1]
    MA2015 (5)
    6. Read, write, and compare decimals to thousandths. [5-NBT3]
    a. Read and write decimals to thousandths using base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form, e.g., 347.392 = 3 x 100 + 4 x 10 + 7 x 1 + 3 x (1/10) + 9 x (1/100) + 2 x (1/1000). [5-NBT3a]
    b. Compare two decimals to thousandths based on meanings of the digits in each place, using >, =, and < symbols to record the results of comparisons. [5-NBT3b]
    MA2015 (6)
    6. Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation. [6-NS3]

    Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will participate in a real-life application of  comparing and ordering decimals based on the Dewey decimal system.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    chart paper

    9 non-fiction books per group of 4 students

    Handout on Kids Guide to the Dewey Decimal System

    Test your knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System (Interactive game I) with three levels on the Dewey decimal system)

    Get to know Melvil Dewey Handout II.

    Slideshow about the Dewey Decimal System

    Download Dewey Decimal Rap Video before lesson to avoid streaming problems.

    Cooperative Group Evaluation Form

    Technology Resources Needed:


    Digital Projector

    Interactive White Board

    Student Response System (clickers)


    Students should be familiar with basic place value for whole numbers and decimals.

    Students should be grouped with 4-6 in each group.


    Before:  Students will be placed in cooperative groups. 

    The teacher should ask the following essential question.  This question will set a purpose for the lesson.  Essential Question:  "How can counting, measuring, or labeling help us to make sense of our world?" 

    Allow 5 minutes for each group to make a list (on the chart paper) of the ways that counting, measuring, or labeling help them in their lives.

    Then, each group will share their list with the class.


    1. Give each group 9 books. 

    2. They will organize them in any way they see fit. For example:  By color of the cover, how thick the books are, by title, by subject matter,etc. 

    3. Students will write down how they organized the books. 

    4.  Allow 10 minutes for all groups to share.

    Teacher will ask:  "How would you organize a library?"

    5.  Give students the handout of the Kids Guide to the Dewey Decimal System. 

    6.  The teacher will say:

    "Books are placed on the shelf in increasing numerical order of the decimal number, for example:  051; 221; 331; 331.973; 331." If numbers are the same; then, the books are placed alphabetically."

    7.  Students will watch the slideshow on the Dewey Decimal System.

    After:  Assess students by having them order their 9 books according to the dewey decimal system. 

    If time allows, groups could play each other using the Interactive Games on the dewey decimal system.

    **Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.

    Assessment Strategies

    Exit Pass: Groups will be given 9 different books to organize.  Teacher will check to see if they are organized according to the Dewey decimal system.

    Cooperative Learning Evaluation Form should be filled out by each member of every group.


    Watch the Dewey Decimal Rap Video

    Students will create their own Dewey decimal rap video.

    Play Interactive Games about the Dewey decimal system.


    Students will check their knowledge at Interactive I games.

    Watch slideshow.

    Assist the Librarian in placing the books correctly on the shelf.

    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.