Reflect and Redesign by Using the Understanding by Design Model


In this project, my goal is to create a lesson with technology-enhanced instruction by using the Understanding by Design Model. The UbD model is also commonly referred to as backwards design because the lesson plan begins by determining the outcome of the activity, or rather the learning objective that will be mastered by students. 

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Besides using 8th grade Middle School Social Studies Civic Standards from OSPI, another focus in my lesson is to incorporate ISTE Student Standard 2 – Digital Citizen. This standard asks students to recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.

In this post, I will be sharing the outline and my reflection of my lesson using the Understanding by Design Model to focus on Middle School Social Studies Civic Standards and ISTE Student Standards. 


While having the intention to redesign a lesson that previously was unsuccessful, I immediately thought of my 8th grade U.S history class. U.S government is a lesson I was not satisfied with in my time management, activities, and student engagement in the past. I am often struggling with the balance of the amount of content needed to be taught and the amount of time to let students explore and participate in activities. I believe this will be a great opportunity for me to reflect, revisit and redesign by using the Understanding by Design Model. 

5 Ways To Use Digital Resources to Teach Social Studies » Britannica

Outline of Lesson

Rubric for Performance Task: 


Understanding by Design is helpful for me to reflect and revisit the learning process and experience from my students point of view. My Reflection on the Six Facets of Understanding (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005) emphasized on to apply” which asks students to effectively use and adapt what we know in diverse and real contexts—we can “do” the subject, and “have perspective” which asks students to see and hear points of view through critical eyes and ears; see the big picture.

During this lesson, students will be able to explain the structure and powers of the three government branches by examining their rights and responsibilities through a real world situation which involves banning their favorite social media app TikTok. It interests students to investigate the process to make laws, carry out laws and review laws in our government. It connects back to the essential question to understand how power and responsibility is distributed, shared, and limited in the government. Students can apply this knowledge to take perspective in real world situations when they encounter policy change in the society and participate in civic movement to advocate through legal channels. 

While technology is integrated purposefully into the lesson, the following ISTE Standards are also weaved into the unit:

ISTE 2b. Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices. This standard is addressed in activities of Padlet post board, class discussion posts and responses to peers with expectation of responsible and respectful online behavior and language use. 

ISTE 2c. Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property. This standard is explained and included into the performance task to have students referencing and citing two credible sources. 

ISTE 3b. Evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources will also be addressed by engaging in fact checking activities. This standard takes part in our class as regular practice when we use digital resources as reference. 

Throughout this project, I feel thankful for the opportunity to redesign my lesson by using the Understanding by Design framework. I will continue to remind myself to be a learner before being an educator. Best teaching practices and strategies should be reflected and refreshed constantly and intentionally.   


Wiggins, G., & McTighe, Jay. (2005). Understanding by design (Expanded 2nd ed., Gale virtual reference library). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 

Gonzalez, J. (2014, June 23). Understanding by Design, Introduction and Chapters 1-4. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

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