Planning to use Mindsets Challenges



How do I teach with these Challenges?

You can use our Challenges in many ways. Here are some ideas:

  • Introduce new concepts.
  • Review topics before a test.
  • Use as a formative or summative assessment.
  • Start each Challenge by giving students a brief overview of its content. Mindsets Learning offers excellent introduction videos that you can use to engage and intrigue your students. Get students excited about the meaning of the problem they will be addressing in the Challenge.

What is “gold standard” and what does it look like?

The best way to use Mindsets Challenges is to provide students with a brief overview of the Challenge first using either our engaging videos or your own introduction. Then, read the Challenge description to the students. Get students excited about the experience by asking them what they already know about the Challenge setting (introduced in the Fast Facts), and asking what they would do in the real-life situation presented. Students work best in pairs with Mindsets Challenges where they can talk about the real-world mathematics they are working on. Monitor student responses in the Challenges in real-time. Use the data you collect from each Challenge to plan or adjust future lessons.


Planning the time

When is the best time (or best way) to use a Mindsets Challenge?

The best way to use Mindsets Challenges varies depending on your goal. Follow these tips depending on what you’d like to achieve.

  • To spark initial motivation, use a Mindsets Challenge at the beginning of an instructional unit.
  • For formative assessment, to build up to a project, and sustain motivation, use a Mindsets Challenge in the middle of an instructional unit.
  • To stretch students ability to transfer skills to new situations, use a Mindsets Challenge at the end of an instructional unit or as review.

How to use a Mindsets Challenge at the beginning of an instructional unit

Using a Mindsets Challenge at the beginning of an instructional unit is a great way to pre-emptively answer the question “Where will I ever use this?” Students may get stuck - that is ok! Productive struggle can help build motivation. Use student responses to pre-assess abilities and help guide future lessons. This can allow you to tailor instruction to students' ability level with each skill.

How to use a Mindsets Challenge in the middle of an instructional unit

The middle of an instructional unit is also a good time to help students see applications of what they are learning. Using a Mindsets Challenge in the middle of an instructional helps make the practice and standards meaningful. Also, you can use the Mindsets Challenge itself as a formative assessment, and to build up to end of instructional unit projects. Pair students of varying ability, and use the hints to help students who struggle.

How to use a Mindsets Challenge at the end of an instructional

Although each student is different, the end of an instructional unit maximizes the chance for students to successfully transfer academic skills to a real-world context. This is also where you can encourage richer discussion between students using the facilitator tips, and use the challenges to lead into projects with the suggested project extensions.

How to use a Mindsets Challenge as review

Spaced repetition is a powerful, evidence-based approach to keeping skills in long-term memory.

  • Use Mindsets Challenges to turn review into an enriching and instructionally relevant treat.
  • Even better, the broad range of stories for Mindsets Challenges helps students improve their transfer skills to new situations.

Mindsets Challenges duration

How long do the Challenges last?

Each Challenge is estimated between 45 to 60 minutes, and can also be run over 2 class blocks. The more discussion you encourage your students to have in class, the more time you would need to allow. Typically, for two class blocks you could have students work together.

Are there any shorter, mini challenges?

Sales Ramp is one of our experiments with a shorter challenge. Most Mindsets Challenges are aimed at a 45 to 60 minute session.

How often should I use a Mindsets Challenge?

We recommend having students complete a Mindsets Challenge between every two weeks to monthly, to help students experience a wide range of applications.


Standards used in Mindsets Challenges

What standards do the Mindsets Challenges map to?

Mindsets Challenges map to the CCSS for mathematics and science, TEKS for mathematics and science, and Australian mathematics and science standards. If you have an additional request, please send us a request at

What Social Emotional Learning elements are incorporated?

Mindsets Challenges are most related to the elements of Responsible Decision-Making and Relationship Skills. 

Preparing to teach Mindsets Challenges in the class

Where do I find a setup guide for teachers?

Once you’ve signed in, click Help under your profile picture in the upper right, and then click easy Setup Guide. alt text

This setup guide contains detailed step by step guide for the teacher and student signup process and login process. You can also download and print the setup guide for quick reference.

Is there a Challenge-specific guide for teachers?

Yes. Once you preview a Challenge, click TEACHER GUIDE in the lower right alt text

What should I do to prepare for teaching Challenges?

First, identify topics and standards where you think your students would benefit the most from engaging in real-world practice. Then, identify corresponding Challenges.

Preview these lesson to practice as you read along in the Challenge Guide. In the Challenge Guide, you will also see suggested warm-up activities, related careers, and suggested project extension ideas. Last, when you have decided on a Challenge, print out one vocabulary sheet per student and one Challenge Guide for yourself.

Can I practice the Challenges on my own first?

Absolutely. We recommend practicing the Challenge using the preview in conjunction with reading the Challenge Guide.

What is a Mindsets Hour?

A Mindsets Hour is a dedicated hour where you bring in a Mindsets Challenge to your students. This could be to pilot a Challenge in your school or empower students with a Mindsets led project. Use Mindsets Hour to create buzz, and anticipation and to bring your teachers and students together!

Does the preview of the challenges provide me with all of the content the students would work through?

Yes. All the student tasks, questions and activities, including polls, are visible in the preview. You can also click through the Bonus Questions for students who finish early, or who want more of a challenge.

Can my students select a Mindsets Challenge?

A great way for teachers to engage students to select a Challenge is to share the preview of two or more alternative Challenges you would like a student to do. Alternatively, create class codes for each alternative and invite students to join the one that best interests them. Several Challenges now have direct variants using different real world examples which makes teaching easier as the students will be engaged in the same, or substantially similar, instructional task.

As of October 2018, the Challenges with variants include: Design a Logo (aligned to Grade 8 Geometry) and Where to Work (aligned to Grade 8 algebra, functions and proportional reasoning).

At present, students do not have access to browse the full Mindsets Library. If you feel this is an important goal for student centered learning, please share your thoughts with us at

Feel free to have students only complete part of a challenge.

If you are interested in piloting shorter, mini-challenges, contact us at also have plans for an Authoring Tool for you to create and share your own Challenges of whatever length you like.

Can I change the slides?

We have an Author’s Tool on our roadmap for the future for both you and your students to modify existing Challenges and create your own. You can also contact us at with specific suggestions.

How can I use Mindsets Challenges for project-based or interdisciplinary learning?

Mindsets Challenges help set a foundation for students to engage successfully with project-based learning. All Challenges include suggested project extensions. These project extensions can be customized for your own students’ interests.

Additionally, most of the science Challenges tie to a mathematical Challenge as well.

How do the problems help students to design projects?

Challenges are created so that students can first check their work using scaffolded examples. Projects include checklists with suggested directions, and ideas for technology that you can adapt for your class.

Oops! I made a metric version of a Challenge but I meant to make a U.S. version.

What should I do? Navigate to the library view of Challenges and change the type of measurement to U.S. (also called imperial measurements). Then, create a new Class Code. By default, the country listed in your profile determines your type of measurement. You can change the measurement type to metric or U.S. depending on what works best for your students.