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Gifted Lesson Plans: A List of Resources

Gifted Education and Support

Below are some of our community’s favorite educator books and websites on lesson plans listed in alphabetical order.*


    • 20 Ideas for Teaching Gifted Kids in the Middle School & High School
      Receive some of the best ideas and lessons developed by master teachers in this book by Joel McIntosh. Both this and its sequel, 10 More Ideas for Teaching Gifted Kids in the Middle School & High School, feature ideas for starting mentorship programs, teaching history using scientific surveys, producing documentaries, and more.
      A Trip Around the World
      This book contains lesson plans, maps, facts, words and phrases, and activities are provided for 15 countries on six different continents helping students learn about countries and cultures around the world. Other curriculum areas are incorporated in the activities provided along with teaching notes, blackline maps, extension activities, a list of foreign words and phrases, and a bibliography of fiction and non-fiction books for each country to help to organize the study.
      Autonomous Learner Model Resource Book
      This book includes activities and strategies to support the development of autonomous learners. More than 40 activities are included, all geared to the emotional, social, cognitive, and physical development of students. Teachers may use these activities and strategies with the entire class, small groups, or with individuals who are ready to be independent, self-directed, lifelong learners.
      Challenging Units for Gifted Learners: Teaching the Way Gifted Students Think – Language Arts
      Challenging Units for Gifted Learners: Teaching the Way Gifted Students Think – Math
      These books are series designed to help teachers provide the stimulating curricula that will nurture this potential in school.
      Creating Effective Programs for Gifted Students With Learning Disabilities
      This book provides a road map for understanding assessment and programming for GTLD students in the era of Response to Intervention. The book helps educators understand the often frustrating experiences GTLD students face in the classroom and identify accommodations and adaptations that allow these bright students to demonstrate their gifts and compensate for their processing challenges. Through an examination of current research and case studies, the reader will be introduced to what must be considered when identifying and developing programming for this underserved population.
      Demystifying Differentiation in Middle School: Tools, Strategies and Activities to Use NOW
      A book designed for middle school teachers who are interested in curriculum differentiation. Offers detailed lessons in over 35 topics, such as language arts, math, science, and social studies, covering four different teaching strategies.
      Differentiated Activities and Assessments Using the Common Core Standards
      This book show educators how to use differentiated curriculum, differentiated instruction, and differentiated assessment with the Common Core State Standards. The book includes over 50 topics in language arts, math, social studies, science, and interdisciplinary topics.
      Differentiation That Really Works: Strategies From Real Teachers for Real Classrooms (Grades K-2)
      This book provides educators with time-saving teaching strategies and lesson ideas based on ease of implementation, ability to modify and inherent opportunities for differentiation. Through years of working with teachers the authors, Dr. Cheryll M. Adams and Dr. Rebecca L. Pierce, pass along four classroom components focused on including differentiated learning strategies, anchoring activities, classroom management, and differentiated assessment. The book also includes templates and sample lessons that can be used to develop customized materials, along with comments from teachers who have used the strategies.
      Five in a Row
      The three volumes of the Five in a Row curriculum provide 55 lesson plans covering social studies, language, art, applied math and science. Designed for a homeschool setting, these lessons would also be appropriate in a conventional school. Although the original Five in a Row was designed for children ages 4 to 8, families of profoundly gifted children will find these guides more appropriate for the preschool years. The accompanying Five in a Row website offers sample lessons, an online newsletter, and curriculum user discussion boards.
      I’m Not Just Gifted: Social-Emotional Curriculum for Guiding Gifted Children
      What traits and characteristics define successful people? Why do gifted children, in particular, need a strong affective curricula in order to maximize their potential? These questions and more are explored in this guide to helping gifted children in grades 4–7 as they navigate the complicated social and emotional aspects of their lives. Including lesson plans, worksheets, and connections to Common Core State Standards, this is a practical guide necessary for anyone serving and working with gifted children.
      Instructional Units for Gifted and Talented Learners
      The creative lessons covered in this book by master teachers cover all of the core academic areas for grades K-6. Lessons include standards-based objectives, interdisciplinary connections that can be explored and discussed and assessments strategies for each unit of instruction.
      Lessons From the Middle: High-End Learning for Middle School Students
      In addition to the 12 model lessons provided, this book from Sandra Kaplan and Michael Cannon, includes a step-by-step guide to developing lessons that emphasize depth and complexity. All of the materials focus on ways to align the middle school curriculum with established national standards and offer strategies to evaluate learner achievement.
      Order in the Court – A Mock Trial Simulation
      Order in the Court: A Mock Trial Simulation gives students the opportunity to conduct a trial based on a classic fairytale in order to develop their courtroom skills. After developing the necessary vocabulary, students participate in the trial of Ms. Petunia Pig v. Mr. B. B. Wolf. Students not only learn the concepts, but they also learn valuable teamwork and time management skills. Designed for students grades 6-8, the unit culminates in a full mock-trial enactment.
      Picturing Math
      This unique book uses picture books to teach elementary students math concepts. Author Colleen Kessler feels strongly that all students should be challenged to experience and learn new things every day. She covers problem solving, geometry, algebra, measurement and probability. Grades 2-4.
      Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students: A Handbook for the 21st-Century Classroom
      This book makes the case that project-based learning is ideal for the gifted classroom, focusing on student choice, teacher responsibility, and opportunities for differentiation. The book guides teachers to create a project-based learning environment in their own classroom, walking them step-by-step through topics and processes such as linking projects with standards, finding the right structure, and creating a practical classroom environment. Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students also provides helpful examples and lessons that all teachers can use to get started.
      Ready-to-Use Differentiation Strategies – Grades 6-8
      Ready-to-Use Differentiation Strategies introduces various activities and strategies that can be implemented in any content area in grades 6–8. Each differentiation strategy encourages higher level thinking and intellectual risk taking while accommodating different learning styles. This book also provides templates that can be used to develop new lessons using each strategy. Designed for students grades 6-8, Ready-to-Use Differentiation Strategies provides an easy-to-use way to begin differentiating for all students in the classroom.
      Researching All Learners: Making Differentiation Work
      This book provides research-based strategies, instructional responses to the way students’ brains learn best, successful guidelines to effectively manage the learning environment, and a teaching palette of 40 strategies for differentiating instruction.
      Splash! Monitoring and Measurement Applications for Young Learners
      This book is a mathematics unit for high-ability learners in kindergarten and first grade focusing on concepts related to linear measurement, the creativity elements of fluency and flexibility, and the overarching, interdisciplinary concept of models. The unit consists of 13 lessons centered on the idea of designing a community pool. Students examine the question of why we measure, the importance of accuracy in measurement, and the various units and tools of measurement.
      STEM to STEAM Education for Gifted Students: Using Specific Communication Arts Lessons with Nanotechnology, Solar, Biomass, Robotics, & Other STEM Topics
      In this book, the authors present detailed lessons for integrating Eight STEM Education Areas with Communication Arts Lessons. These detailed lessons emphasize writing essays, descriptions and poems, and completing various exercises related to the following STEM Areas: Nanotechnology, Solar, Internet, Inventing, Music, Electric Vehicles, MOOCS, Biomass, and Robotics. The Appendices contain further information about the importance and promise of STEM Education.
      Super Smart Math – 180 Warm-Ups and Challenging Activities
      In Super Smart Math challenges, author Rebecca George helps students to think critcally while providing activities and problems that become increasingly difficult as the students progress through each section. Organized by mathematical topics for grades 5-8.
      The 10 Things All Future Mathematicians and Scientists Must Know (But Are Rarely Taught)
      Edward Zaccaro presents this book full of classroom lessons, readings and discussion starters. It reveals the things our future mathematicians and scientists must know in order to prevent tragedies such as the Challenger explosion and the failure of the Mars Orbiter.
      The NEW RtI: Response to Intelligence
      This book provides practical advise for instructors who are looking to successfully incorporate students of all skill levels into their classroom. The book advocates for gifted children while supporting the concept that all children on the learning continuum grow and continue to learn.
      Unicorns Are Real: A Right-Brained Approach to Learning
      This best-seller by Barbara Meister Vitale, provides sixty-five practical, easy-to-follow lessons to develop the much ignored right-brain tendencies of children. Her methods have been successfully demonstrated at workshops, in-service training sessions, and at several major educational conventions nationwide.
      Writing Instruction for Verbally Talented Youth: The Johns Hopkins Model
      The book by Ben Reynolds contains specific lesson plans, student assignments, and criteria and suggestions for evaluation of student work. The book contains the complete content of the first writing courses for verbally talented youth designed by the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University in the early 1980’s. This course was designed originally for 7th grade students who scored 430 or above on the verbal section of the SAT.
      Writing Success Through Poetry
      Grades 4-8 will gain insight from this book offering practical questions to facilitate Socratic-style discussions and explorations of literary concepts found within poems. Author, Susan Lipson, provides 25 original poems as prompts for students to use as inspiration for their own poetry and prose.


    • Big History Project (BHP)
      The Big History Project (BHP) is a history course covering 13.8 billion years of history told through engaging videos, animations, articles, and classroom activities targeting middle- and high-school students. Big History challenges students to think critically and broadly, and tries to ignite a passion for inquiry and exploration. In addition to helping students master the sequence and scope of 13.8 billion years, the course focuses on three essential skills: thinking across scale, integrating multiple disciplines, and making and testing claims. The materials are free and are available to be used by school districts, individual schools, teachers, homeschool families and the general public.
      Chem Collective at Carnegie Mellon University
      The Chemistry Collective is a collection of virtual labs, scenario-based learning activities, and concepts tests which can be incorporated into a variety of teaching approaches as pre-labs, alternatives to textbook homework, and in-class activities for individuals or teams. It is organized by a group of faculty and staff at Carnegie Mellon University for college and high school teachers who are interested in using, assessing, and/or creating engaging online activities for chemistry education.
      Colorado Geographic Alliance (COGA)
      This organization provides resources and professional development opportunities for elementary and secondary school teachers, with the goal of furthering geography education throughout the State of Colorado. They offer lesson plans, maps, and other information, such as articles and links to similar organizations.
      Discovery Education
      Discovery Education offers a broad range of free classroom resources that complement and extend learning. Educators can foster deeper engagement and opportunities for students to take charge of their own learning with high quality, engaging, relevant tools designed for today’s busy teachers and parents. Discovery Education offers programs and contests, interactive games, puzzles, lesson plans, videos and more.
      This online teaching tool uses material from the United States National Archives. The website allows users to find and create interactive learning activities with primary-source documents that promote historical thinking skills. The website also endeavors to teach students about working with primary sources.
      Lesson plans and resources for teaching gifted and talented students.
      This free curriculum website provides educators with lesson plans and web links for the humanities, including: arts and culture; literature and language arts; foreign languages; and, history and social studies. This site is a valuable resource for educators looking for creative ways to better teach the humanities. This educational partnership brings online humanities resources from some of the world’s great museums, libraries, cultural institutions, and universities directly to the classroom.
      eGFI (Engineering, Go For It!)
      eGFI seeks to identify and gather in one place the most effective engineering education resources available to the K-12 community. From comprehensive data on outreach programs to profiles of “cool” engineers to hundreds of links and readings related to engineering education, eGFI offers useful, easily accessible materials specifically tailored to students’ and educators’ interests.
      Engineering the Future: The Educator’s Guide to Building and Construction

      Engineering the Future offers lessons, activities, and classroom strategies to assist educators in teaching young people STEM oriented content.
      This website, which is non-profit, was created with the idea of providing easy to navigate resources for parents and educators of gifted and creative children.
      Google for Educators
      On this website, find a teacher’s guide to Google products, including basic information about each tool, examples of how educators are using them, and lesson ideas.
      Living Math
      This website is dedicated to sharing math resources for learning, exploring and enjoying math in a dynamic and holistic manner, for all ages. This site was created and compiled by a homeschooling mother of four. It provides links to lesson plans, co-ops, articles, ideas and reviews.
      Math Worksheets Land
      This website contains more than 4,000 PDF files that total over 12,000 printable pages related to numerous math worksheets on topics such as algebra, multiplication, percentiles and more.
      Maths Doctors – QR Worksheets
      QR Worksheets are a UK-based Open Education Resource for GCSE and A level maths teachers and pupils. More than 250 interactive QR Worksheets with their online video tutorials are designed to make both teaching and learning maths easier – and they’re free and easy to use anytime, anywhere, with access via phone and computer.
      NASA – For Educators
      This section of the NASA website is dedicated to educators. Search hundreds of resources by subject, grade level, type and keyword. These lesson plans and teaching materials support a STEM curriculum. Also, browse STEM-related professional development opportunities, webinars, workshops, and ways for educators and their students to get involved with NASA.
      Participate (formerly VIF International Education-Global Gateway Program)
      In 2017, VIF International Education changed its company name to Participate in order to more accurately reflect their programs and services. Participate strives to be a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens that empowers learners to engage with the world around them. Their mission is to support educators as they actively participate in learning communities, ignite change and create impact on a global scale.
      PBS – Public Broadcasting Service
      This website from the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) offers an endless supply of information on various topics with special sections for kids and teachers. The teacher section has thousands of lesson plans and activities. The TeacherLine section lists online professional development opportunities.
      This is a copyright-friendly image library for teachers and students. The Pics4Learning collection consists of thousands of images that have been donated by students, teachers, and amateur photographers.
      ProQuest K-12
      ProQuest offers a growing number of classroom-focused, subscription-based research tools. Many of these education solutions offer elementary, middle, and high schools content that is reading level-linked (lexiled), supports 21st-century information literacy, and helps differentiate instruction across all K-12 curriculum areas. The Educator Tools section connects the school community to a growing collection of hands-on lesson plans and tools to make use of ProQuest database solutions in a learning setting.
      PhysicsQuest is a story-based activity that exposes middle school students to the fun and relevance of science. PhysicsQuest aims to teach middle school students physics concepts, but its overarching goal is to give them a positive experience with physics. A free PhysicsQuest kit will be sent to registered 6-9th grade physical science classes, home school groups, science clubs, and after-school programs. The kit includes a user’s manual and materials for four physics experiments.
      SEA Semester – K-12 Lesson Plans
      SEA Semester offers field programs in marine and environmental studies. They have developed a series of K-12 Lesson Plans available on their website on the topics of marine biology, nautical science, oceanography and marine ecology.
      The Shmoop website offers free learning guides, online courses, college readiness prep, and test prep. The website also provides subscription-based test preparatory services and practice examinations. They also offer a Careers page and College 101 section. Thousands of schools around the world use Shmoop as part of their curriculum.
      Gifted and talented lesson plans and activities.
      Smithsonian’s History Explorer
      Smithsonian’s History Explorer provides hundreds of free online resources for teaching and learning American history. The site is designed for use by K-12 teachers and students, afterschool program providers and families. The website focuses on using historical artifacts and items to teach American history.
      Teachers Pay Teachers
      This website is an open marketplace where teachers buy and sell original teaching materials. It’s mission is to make teachers’ lives easier by bringing together those who create curricula with those who are seeking fresh new approaches in the classroom.
      The Teacher’s Corner – Teacher Resources and Lesson Plans
      This website offers resources for teachers including: lessong plans, thematic units and printable worksheets.
      TIME for Kids
      This site is an online version for kids of the popular Time news magazine. It has stories covering some limited current events condensed for younger kids as well as some fun stories about entertainment news.
      World History for Us All
      World History for Us All provides teaching units, lesson plans, and resources for teaching world history to middle and high school students. The curriculum aims to help students make connections from specific subject matter to historical patterns, and may be readily adapted to a variety of history programs.

*Some links on this page go to and are affiliate links. While these books are available from many retailers, all links that go to help support the Davidson Institute’s mission and continuing work to support profoundly gifted students and their families.

Feel free to share your go-to gifted education resources in the comments below!


Diane Wiktorowski

Teachers Pay Teachers is a resource that I feel is invaluable. In trying to create challenging, unique and engaging activities for gifted learners- there are a plethora of lessons to choose from. I believe working in clusters will benefit my gifted learners as they share ideas and collaborate to create something together.

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Please note, the Davidson Institute is a non-profit serving families with highly gifted children. We will not post comments that are considered soliciting, mention illicit topics, or share highly personal information.

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