Using an Index Lesson Plan

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

Students will find that informational texts can be easy to use and a great resource once they understand how an index works. Use this lesson plan to teach your students more about using an index as they read and discuss a text lesson, play a game, and take a quiz.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define index
  • Describe how to use an index
  • Locate information in different texts utilizing the index


1.5 - 2 hours

Curriculum Standards


Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.


Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.


  • Copies of the Informational Texts: Indexes and Tables of Contents text lesson, one for each student
  • Copies of the lesson quiz, one for each student
  • Worksheets comprised of the list of terms and the books they are in prepared by you before class (It is also a good idea to create the key for this activity while you create the list), one for each small group


  • Start by asking your students if they know how to find where a term is in a book.
  • As you pass out copies of the Informational Texts: Indexes and Tables of Contents text lesson, tell the students that today they are going to learn how to find terms in an informational book such as a textbook.
  • Read the lesson together as a class by having different students read each paragraph in the lesson and stopping after each section to discuss the following:
  • After the 'Indexes & Tables of Content' section, ask and discuss the following:
    • What is an informational text?
    • What is an index?
    • Where is an index found?
    • What is a table of contents?
    • How does a table of contents compare to an index?
  • Now read the 'Using the Index' section. Ask and discuss:
    • What are index entries usually listed under?
    • Which part of a person's name should you look for to find them in the index?
    • Why might it be necessary to look up more than one entry to find what you are looking for?
  • Continue by reading the 'Using the Table of Contents' section. Ask and discuss:
    • Where in the book is the table of contents?
    • What information can you get from the table of contents?
  • Read the Lesson Summary to your students and answer any questions they have.

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