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Grades 6–8
IM K–5 Math: An End and a Beginning

IM K–5 Math: An End and a Beginning

By William McCallum On March 20, 2015, I received the following email: Thank you for submitting your proposals to the K–12 OER Collaborative. We are pleased to advise you that Illustrative Mathematics has been selected as a...

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Differentiating Instruction with IM 6–12 Math™

Differentiating Instruction with IM 6–12 Math™

By Max Ray-Riek, Director of 6–12 Professional Learning In my role at IM, working with teachers and administrators, I am asked to help with the challenges of implementing an IM curriculum. We are often asked, “How can I...

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What does it mean to enjoy mathematics?

What does it mean to enjoy mathematics?

By William McCallum When I started this series of blog posts on what it means to know, use, and enjoy mathematics, I thought this one would be the easiest. Math is fun, right? How could you not enjoy mathematics? I...

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What Does It Mean to Use Mathematics?

What Does It Mean to Use Mathematics?

By William McCallum Our vision at Illustrative Mathematics is a world where all learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. In my last post I picked up that first verb and talked about what it means to know mathematics. In...

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What does it mean to know mathematics?

What does it mean to know mathematics?

By William McCallum A world where all learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. Perhaps the most mysterious verb in the IM vision—a world where all learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics—is the first one: know.  Knowing...

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Reading Graphs is a Complex Skill

Reading Graphs is a Complex Skill

Newspapers are full of graphs, far more than 10 or 20 years ago. Indeed, I have a graph to show that! (Source, Priceonomics) And yet I wonder how often readers see graphs as pictures illustrating a point, rather than as...

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Equitable Teaching Practices in IM 6–12 Math

Equitable Teaching Practices in IM 6–12 Math

by Tina Cardone The vision of Illustrative Mathematics is to create a world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. This raises the question: Which learners? And what role do the authors of a curriculum play in...

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Coming Together Around Distance Learning

Coming Together Around Distance Learning

By William McCallum I can't imagine what it must feel like right now to be a teacher facing the uncharted territory that is the coming school year. Will I be teaching 100% online, or have some face-to-face interaction with...

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Thoughts on the Back-to-School Problem

Thoughts on the Back-to-School Problem

By William McCallum One of the consolations in these difficult times has been tweets and Youtube videos of parents discovering just what it takes to be a teacher. Maybe it takes a crisis like this to restore the respect...

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Planning for Learning in Spring of 2020

Planning for Learning in Spring of 2020

Some schools are sending home printed packets and establishing teacher office hours by phone. Some are conducting their regular class schedule, but online. And lots are doing something in between. We understand that it is...

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Links to Resources for Shifting Instruction Online

Links to Resources for Shifting Instruction Online

First and most importantly, take care of yourself, your family, and your students. That might not look like doing math, or it might. To the extent that it’s useful, we have curated this list of resources recommended by our...

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Links to Math Resources for Caregivers

Links to Math Resources for Caregivers

Here is a collection of links the content team here at IM has used with our own students and kids to start mathematical conversations, play math games together, explore new topics, come up with projects, and have fun. There...

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Which Vertex is the Center of a Triangle?

Which Vertex is the Center of a Triangle?

By William McCallum I am sometimes asked what is the secret to the success of our curriculum, what is the special property that sets it apart from other curricula. That question is like the one in the title of this blog...

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Building a Supportive Home/School Partnership

Building a Supportive Home/School Partnership

While families arrive with different school experiences and perspectives on what “doing math” means, they often share common questions: What do I need to know to set my child up for success in math this year? and How can I...

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Co-Creating Classroom Norms with Students

Co-Creating Classroom Norms with Students

Establishing norms is critical to creating an environment where all students see themselves as knowers and doers of mathematics. Reflecting on the Illustrative Mathematics mission statement, Creating a world where learners...

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Realizing the promise of open resources, part II

Realizing the promise of open resources, part II

By William McCallum In my first post on the topic of realizing the promise of open educational resources, I described the IM Certified program. Our partners offer multiple versions, including a free online version and...

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The Power of Small Ideas

The Power of Small Ideas

By William McCallum, IM President Big ideas are popular in mathematics education, and you can find many lists of big ideas on the web. Some are more thoughtful than others, and I can see how some might be useful for...

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Designing Coherent Learning Experiences K-12

Designing Coherent Learning Experiences K-12

By Kristin Gray, Director of K–5 Curriculum & Professional Learning One challenge in curriculum design is considering all we know and believe to be true about math teaching and learning and translating that into...

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NCSM NCTM Recap

NCSM NCTM Recap

Illustrative Mathematics It was great to see so many of you at NCSM and NCTM in San Diego. If we missed you, or you weren’t able to attend, read our NCSM and NCTM round-up below. We enjoyed the conversations we had with...

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What is a Measurable Attribute?

What is a Measurable Attribute?

By Kristin Umland,VP Content Development A great conversation I had with the IM elementary school curriculum writing team got me thinking: What is a measurable attribute? That is, when given an object, what can we measure...

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Planning Lessons for a Block Schedule

Planning Lessons for a Block Schedule

By Jennifer Wilson and Vanessa Cerrahoglu Update 2020-May-04: IM has created a sample plan for a block schedule for Unit 1 for each of IM Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2. (In order to make your own edits to the doc, use...

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What is problem-based instruction?

What is problem-based instruction?

By William McCallum When I was a child, I used to get puzzle books out of the library. One of the puzzles was the twelve-coin problem, the most difficult of all coin weighing problems. My mother and I worked on it...

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Realizing the promise of open resources

Realizing the promise of open resources

By William McCallum All of our curriculum here at Illustrative Mathematics is released under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license, which allows anyone to "copy and redistribute the material in any medium or...

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What is the Time? It Depends…

What is the Time? It Depends…

Q: What is the fastest way to get a heated debate going about some topic in the IM 6–-8 math curriculum? A: Show people this graph from Lesson 4 in Unit 8.5: By Kristin Umland Many of us learned that time is always the...

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The Power of Noticing and Wondering

The Power of Noticing and Wondering

My first years of teaching, I worried my students looked at me much like Ben Stein as the teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I cringe to think about the series of monotonous and leading questions I strung together to a...

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Why is 3 – 5 = 3 + (-5)?

Why is 3 – 5 = 3 + (-5)?

By William McCallum You will never have to subtract again. Students sometimes learn about addition and subtraction of integers using integer chips. These are circular chips, with a yellow chip representing +1 and a red chip...

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Engaging All Students in Meaningful Mathematics

Engaging All Students in Meaningful Mathematics

“At the end of the day, this wasn’t about focusing on the objective, it was about making the objective meaningful to him.” The work of teaching is both invigorating and challenging. We want to instill a love of math and...

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Parent Math Night Using Illustrative Mathematics

Parent Math Night Using Illustrative Mathematics

Open House night; cue anxiety and sweaty palms! Hope my students’ parents don’t mind. I just began my seventh year of teaching middle school mathematics. Middle school is a limbo land filled with prepubescent pre-teens,...

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Planning for Meaningful Practice

Planning for Meaningful Practice

There is no shortage of available math resources for teachers to use in their classrooms. The difficult and time-consuming job for teachers is weeding through all of the tools to decide which best supports students in...

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What is right about wrong answers?

What is right about wrong answers?

When I first started teaching, at the end of each day, I would open my teacher’s guide, grab my pen, and thumb through the stack of completed worksheets. My eyes would dart quickly from the red answers in the teacher’s...

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What I Learned Today: Scale Drawings & Maps

What I Learned Today: Scale Drawings & Maps

I asked my 15-year-old what she learned today at school. She paused for a moment and then answered,  “What did you learn at school today?” It took me a while to think about what I had learned (which will make me more...

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Planning to Use Pre-Unit Assessments

Planning to Use Pre-Unit Assessments

[bctt tweet="Time to start a new unit! What do you need to know before your students enter the room? " username="IllustrateMath"] NCTM’s Principles to Actions names several productive beliefs about assessments that will...

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IM Preparing for the School Year

IM Preparing for the School Year

There are always so many things to do in preparation for a new school year.  At this point of the summer, to-do lists start getting made, materials get purchased, rooms are organized, and math class planning begins....

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Building a Supportive Home/School Partnership

Building a Supportive Home/School Partnership

By Kristin Gray, Jenna Laib, Sarah Caban Open House. Back-to-School Night. Family Welcome. Math Night. No matter what the name of the event that launches the school year, family members will arrive at your school with the...

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Building a Mathematical Classroom Community

Building a Mathematical Classroom Community

Classroom environments that foster a sense of community that allows students to express their mathematical ideas—together with norms that expect students to communicate their mathematical thinking to their peers and...

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Fun With Zooming Number Lines in Grade 8

Fun With Zooming Number Lines in Grade 8

By Charles Larrieu Casias The number line is an anchor representation that threads through the entire middle school curriculum. For this blog post, I want to focus on a creative use of the number line in grade 8 to explore...

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On Similar Triangles

On Similar Triangles

By Ashli Black The fact that a line has a well-defined slope—that the ratio between the rise and run for any two points on the line is always the same—depends on similar triangles. (p.12, 6–8 Progression on Expressions and...

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NCSM and NCTM 2018 Roundup

NCSM and NCTM 2018 Roundup

It was great to see so many of you at NCSM and NCTM. If we missed you, or you weren’t able to attend, read our NCSM and NCTM round-up below. We enjoyed the conversations we had with those of you that are using the IM 6–8...

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Time to Noodle

Time to Noodle

By Kate Nowak This task is the first part of the culminating lesson of unit 2 in grade 8, which is about dilations and similarity. (You will need to create a free teacher account to open the link.) It is a variation on the...

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Warm-up Routines With a Purpose

Warm-up Routines With a Purpose

By Kristin Gray As a teacher, curiosity around students’ mathematical thinking was the driving force behind the teaching and learning in my classroom. To better understand what they were thinking, I needed to not only have...

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Why We Don’t Cross Multiply

Why We Don’t Cross Multiply

By Kate Nowak (co-authored with Kristin Gray) “Ultimately, the goal of this unit is to prepare students to make sense of situations involving equivalent ratios and solve problems flexibly and strategically, rather than to...

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Vocabulary Decisions

By Bowen Kerins A wide-ranging team worked together to develop the Illustrative Mathematics Grades 6–8 Math curriculum. Many of the authors were and are experienced teachers of Grades 6–8, while others are experienced high...

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Not all contexts have the same purpose

Not all contexts have the same purpose

By Nik Doran We sometimes use familiar contexts to understand new mathematical ideas, and sometimes we use familiar mathematical ideas to understand what is going on in a context. We do both of these things by looking for...

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Info Gap Cards: The Hidden Gem

Info Gap Cards: The Hidden Gem

By Sadie Estrella May 2016 seems so long ago. I actually had to look it up on a calendar because I really thought it was more than 1.41666years ago. That was when I officially started this journey with Illustrative...

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Respecting the Intellectual Work of the Grade

Respecting the Intellectual Work of the Grade

By Kate Nowak A thing that I think we did really well in Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math was attend carefully to really deep, important things that adults that already know math can easily overlook. For example,...

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Reflection & Discussions in Grade 8, Part 1

Reflection & Discussions in Grade 8, Part 1

By Ashli Black Woo, blogging! As I start work on high school curriculum, I thought I would go back and revisit the grade 8 units that I’ve spent the past 18 months working on and share some of my favorite things. This gives...

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Misconceptions about Multiple Methods

Misconceptions about Multiple Methods

By William McCallum You may have noticed that I am back to publishing regular blog posts! My goal for now is a blog post every second Wednesday. I am now also trying to answer forum questions promptly. I want to thank the...

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