Lesson plan

What's Up, Prepositions?

What's up with prepositions, anyway? Help your fifth graders get a leg up in grammar. In this preposition lesson plan, students will identify prepositions and use them to write complete sentences.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to identify and use prepositions to write complete sentences.

(5 minutes)
  • Write a sentence on the board that is missing a proposition (i.e. The dog sits the table.)
  • Ask students what is wrong with the sentence (e.g. it's missing a word; it doesn't make sense).
  • Explain that, in this sentence, it is unclear how the dog and the table are related to one another.
  • Draw a picture of a dog under a table, and ask the students to use the picture to decide what word should be added to the sentence to make it more clear.
  • Invite a student to come up to the board and rewrite the correct sentence (i.e. The dog sits under the table.)
  • Underline the word under in the new sentence and explain that this word is a preposition. A preposition is a word that expresses the relationship between a noun and another word. In this case, the proposition tells us the dog's position in relation to the table.
(5 minutes)
  • Draw a new picture of a dog next to a table. Ask students to come up with a new sentence that describes the picture (i.e. The dog sits beside the table.)
  • Write the sentence on the board and underline the preposition.
  • Have students turn to a neighbor and discuss why a preposition is an important part of a complete sentence. Call on students to share answers and guide the discussion as needed (i.e. A preposition helps us understand how a noun or the subject of the sentence is related to other words in the sentence; when the preposition changes, it changes the meaning of the sentence; without a preposition, a sentence won't make sense).
  • Write the word preposition and its definition (a word that expresses the relationship between a noun and another word) on the board for student reference.
(8 minutes)
  • Hand out the List of Prepositions worksheet (or display it using a document camera).
  • Write a sentence that is missing its preposition on the board. Include a blank line where the preposition should be (i.e. The mouse ran ____ the house.)
  • On a sheet of paper, have each student rewrite the sentence three times, using three different prepositions from the list.
  • Instruct students to pass their paper to a neighbor when they have finished their sentences. Then tell students to underline the prepositions in the sentences they received from their classmate.
  • Call on a few students to read their sentences aloud.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out the Grammar Review: Prepositions worksheet.
  • Have students complete the worksheet independently.
  • Circulate and offer support as needed.


  • Allow students to continue using the List of Prepositions worksheet as a tool as they work independently.
  • Complete some examples on the worksheet with the class before having students work independently.
  • Provide an additional example for students to complete during guided practice (i.e. The blue balloon floated ____ the clear sky.)
  • Offer students additional practice with a basic worksheet that includes pictures, such as the What is a Preposition? worksheet.
  • Use this and other preposition lesson plans to support struggling students' understanding of parts of speech.


  • Have students generate their own list of prepositions before, or in lieu of, providing a list.
  • Have students read a piece of text (such as the Folktales: The Princess Mouse worksheet) and identify as many prepositions as they can while reading.
  • Follow up with a lesson on diagramming sentences (see the Sentence Diagramming: Prepositions worksheet).
  • This preposition lesson plan can be followed up with a lesson on prepositional phrases.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out one pre-prepared index card (facedown) to each student, with a word written on each. Half of the words should be prepositions, while the remaining words are other parts of speech.
  • Count to three and tell all the students to flip over their cards.
  • Tell students to stand if their card has a preposition written on it and remain sitting if it does not. Have students who are standing hold their cards up so that you can quickly see that they are correct.
  • Collect the cards and mix them up. Repeat the activity several times so that each student has an opportunity to stand.
  • After the last round, have students turn over the index card that they are holding so that they have a blank side on which to write. Instruct students to write their own sentence and underline the preposition.
  • Remind students to write their names on their card. Then collect student sentences as exit tickets and check for understanding.
(2 minutes)
  • Tell students that you are going to talk to them for a minute, and instruct them to listen for prepositions as you talk (i.e. We are going to line up by the door. We are going to walk to the cafeteria for lunch. James, please stand behind Fiona today.)
  • Have students raise their hand each time you use a preposition.
  • Call on students to tell you the prepositions they heard.

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