• Are you a teacher? Join us! Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!

Understanding by Design


Senior Member
Does anyone use this method to design units? My school is taking a course on it, and I am finding it time consuming. We are to have 5 units made by the end of the semester. The ideas of knowing where you are going and making sure the lessons align with state standards are good, but it seems like there is so much paper work involved.
Does anyone have a suggestion on how to use this? Is there anyone who uses it and what are your opinions?


We have begun training on UBD this year. I find it time consuming, monotonous, and it seems to be a lot of unnecessary extra work for the teacher. Yes, alignment of state standards are great, however, why make our job that much harder than it already is? We are going all performance based in our district. These 3 or 4 week units with projects as assessment are not good for lower grades. It is too much for a 1st grade class to handle at one time. It may work better with upper grades.
Gathering or making all the materials needed to teach these units are beyond our resources, which has been very stressful my colleagues as well as myself.
I am anxiously waiting for the next "big- new" thing to come along so we can forget UBD!


New Member
We learned about this in my grad school classes, and I've used it to an extent. It can be a lot of extra work upfront, but I believe it's worth it in the end. This is a format that simply asks you to work backwards; determine what you want the students to know, and decide what would be acceptable evidence that it is understood. From there, you plan your lessons. UbD is a great way to develop a framework for your units while allowing you to use whatever lesson format you like. It's simply a different way of setting things up, but you would get the same results if you chose to give the posttest at the beginning of the unit, and teach what your students don't already know before giving it as a posttest.

I tend to take apart the "newest thing" my district is pushing and use the parts that work for me. For this, I would work backwards to plan my unit and assessment, but would use a variety of other things for my individual lessons.