Lesson Plan Design

We chose the Ideas, Connections, Extensions framework to design our lesson plans.

ICE is a tool to support the development of lesson plans and assessment of student learning. It was developed by Sue Fostaty-Young and Robert J. Wilson.

ICE stands for: Ideas, Connections, and Extensions.

Ideas are fundamental concepts, definitions of terms, vocabulary, facts. At this level, the learner can recognize elements that contribute to a problem or issue.

Connections involve identifying patterns and relationships between ideas and making sense of them by linking them with experiences and other knowledge already acquired. At this level, learners can explain problems by recognising contributing factors as well as potential solutions.

Extensions happen when learners synthesize what they have learned and use their connections to generate new ideas. Extensions are evident when learners use their knowledge to develop novel ways of working. At this level, learners can use their knowledge to resolve the problem in innovative ways.

ICE offers a conceptual framework for making learning processes explicit. ICE maps learner development from first encounter with a new issue to competence and expertise. It is a helpful starting point for developing learning activities and supporting a student’s journey to arrive a more complex and critical extensions of their work.


Renyk, G. & Stephenson, J. (2011). The ICE approach: Saving one broken toaster at a time. Project Muse. Accessed from http://www.queensu.ca/drama/jstephenson/Publications/147.renyk.pdf

Fostaty-Young, S. & Wilson, R.J. (2000). Assessment & Learning: The ICE approach. Portage & Main Press