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    Functions Lesson Plan

    Topics: Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans, Elementary (4-12), Lesson Plans

    Functions Lesson Plan

    Lesson Overview:

    This lesson plan practices sentence building, picture identification and vocabulary development. Students look at pictures of objects and describe the function of each item.

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    Students practice explaining the function of familiar items using complete sentences as appropriate.

    Skills Practiced:

    • Picture identification
    • Vocabulary development

    Materials Needed:


    • This lesson is designed for 1:1 instruction with a teacher or therapist.

    Set Up: 

    Decide which cards you would like to work on with your students. The Language Builder Nouns 2 card set can be separated by the following categories, making it easy to work on related vocabulary words in this lesson:

    • Body Parts
    • Insects & Bugs
    • Sea Life
    • Animals
    • Transportation
    • Foods
    • Tools
    • Musical Instruments
    • On the Farm
    • Clothing
    • Everyday Objects
    • Safety Signs

    In this example, the teacher chose to use cards from the Everyday Objects category, but you can use any card(s) #1 – 201. Sit across from or next to the student.


    1. Model what you’d like your student to do by choosing a card (for example, calculator, #166) and placing it on the table facing your student. Then explain the function of that item. You may choose to model a few cards in this manner until you feel that your student understands what will be expected of them.

    2. Then tell the student it is their turn.

    3. Choose a card (for example, the lightbulb, #162) and place it on the table facing your student. Ask your student to explain the function of the object.
      • Try the phrase, “What do you do with this?” or “What is this used for?” •
      • If your student names the item itself, “Light bulb”, reinforce the correct label and encourage them to tell you more about the light bulb. For example, “That’s right, this is a light bulb. Can you tell me more about how we might use a light bulb?”
      • Depending on your student’s vocabulary, encourage them to use complete sentences to describe the item.
        • i. “A light bulb makes light.” rather than, “Light.”

    4. Repeat for the remainder of the cards.

    5. Shuffle and repeat.



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    Jenna Wharff, Ed.M.

    Written by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M.

    Jenna Wharff is a special education teacher at HOPEhouse at Cotting School, a transitional boarding school for students age 17-22 with special needs, in Lexington, MA. She specializes in helping her students prepare for life after high school by teaching independent living, vocational, and social skills as well as practical academics and providing opportunities for her students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to their everyday lives. She aims to help students and their families make the transition from special education to adult services as smooth as possible, while providing her students with the skills and knowledge necessary to lead productive and meaningful lives after leaving HOPEhouse. Jenna received her Master's degree in Mind, Brain, and Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2007.