Grade Levels: 6-8

In this Lure of the Labyrinth Employee Lounge lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 6 through 8, students use BrainPOP resources to explore mathematical concepts. They will describe, represent, and apply numbers using mental strategies, paper/pencil and technology through an online game. Students will also evaluate algebraic expressions.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Describe, represent, and apply numbers using mental strategies, paper/pencil or technolog
  2. Evaluate algebraic expressions.


  • LCD projector and interactive whiteboard (if available)
  • Individual computers for students to use
  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Pencils, paper, and rulers
  • Class set of photocopies for the Graphic Organizer and Activities and Clue Cards


whole number; fraction; numerator; denominator; improper fraction; mixed number


Familiarize yourself with the game, which can be used to teach and reinforce an understanding of algebraic expressions. In this game, your monster boss desires a snack and you need to figure out how much items cost in the vending machine. Players must use varied combinations of coins to obtain items from a vending machine. The puzzle has two distinct parts, or phases, that follow each other in sequence. In the first phase, the player moves three coins, one at a time, from the stacks of coins and places them into the three coin slots on the machine. If the sum of the three coins equals the price of an item in the machine, the machine dispenses the snack. Players can also intuit the value of their coins by looking at the equations each combination equals. You can check out the Introducing Labyrinth to Your Students page for tips on setting the stage and expectations for game play with your students. The Lure of the Labyrinth page produced by Maryland Public Television also provides game overviews, additional lesson plans (from which portions of this lesson plan were adapted), standards alignment, Graphic Organizers, and more

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Project the Equations with Variables movie topic page and challenge students to complete the Experiment as a warm-up activity.
  2. After students have had time to work on the Experiment, review it together.
  3. Then play the Equations with Variablesmovie. Turn on closed captioning to aid students in comprehension, and pause as needed to discuss.
  4. Introduce students to the game by projecting the Graphic Novel Page. Provide students with the Graphic Organizer to use during game play.
  5. Allow students to explore the game with a partner, using the graphic organizer for note-taking as they play. We suggest that students play in pairs to encourage thinking aloud and collaborating in order to problem solve.
  6. Bring the group back to a whole class discussion. Have students share strategies for figuring out the value of each coin.
  7. Challenge students to complete activity one and/or activity two from the Lure of the Labyrinth Lesson Plan. They can work with a partner to problem solve.
  8. Encourage students to create their own problems using the clue cards from the Lure of the Labyrinth Lesson Plan. Provide blank clue cards if desired for students to make their own clues.
  9. For homework, have students complete the Worksheet from BrainPOP’s Equations With Variables topic.
  10. For additional assessment tools and extension activities, see the accompanying Lure of the Labyrinth Lesson Plan Plan.

Extension Activities:

More games by this developer are available on the Lure of the Labyrinth website.