The number line is a seemingly simple object: a straight line with two points marked 0 and 1. Those two points are the seeds of great complexity, however. Whole numbers are located at positions marked off by iterating the interval. Fractions are located at equal subdivisions of the spaces between whole numbers. Flip all those numbers to the other side of 0 and you have negative rational numbers. Then, although the line is completely dense with rational numbers, you find you can sneak between them with infinite decimal expansions to define a whole universe of irrational numbers. Given all of these layers of complexity, when exactly is the right moment to introduce this marvelous object to students?Continue reading “When is a number line not a number line?”
Does the perfect elementary math curriculum exist? Armed with a growth mindset and the Alpha IM K–5 curriculum, teachers in Ipswich Public Schools push their thinking to reach all mathematicians.
I preach growth mindset daily. When my students say they can’t do something, they almost always add their own “…yet.” However, walking this walk as an elementary school teacher is another story. Creating, mastering, and modifying curricula to reach each and every student—in every content area—is a daunting expectation. We hold ourselves to near impossible standards.Continue reading “Creating an Accessible Mathematical Community with IM K–5: the power of “yet” for students and adults”
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”― Maya Angelou
When I think back to my 8th grade math class, I cannot recall the exact problems I struggled with or exact things the teacher said or did, but I can distinctly remember how I felt each day walking into that classroom: anxious. From the very first day of school, I struggled, and my feelings of failure and self-doubt only compounded as the year progressed. I just could not keep up. While many, many years have passed, and details have faded from my memory, I have never forgotten how badly I felt about myself as a learner of mathematics each day.Continue reading “First Impressions: The First Units in IM K–5 Math”
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.
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 about it? Before you jump in with your own answer, consider these questions:
Is “redness” a measurable attribute? Why or why not? Does this picture help you decide?Continue reading “What is a Measurable Attribute?”
By Anna Polsgrove
When I first started the Math Methods course at University of California, Irvine, all of my ideas on how to learn math took a complete 180.
During the first two months, a million questions swirled in my head as I worked through problems with my classmates: We don’t just teach the algorithm anymore? What do you mean “use representations to build conceptual understanding”? What is an area diagram? What are all of the multiple strategies to solve a problem? How am I supposed to anticipate misconceptions when I have never taught the curriculum?, just to name a few. Continue reading “The IM 6–8 Math Curriculum Changed My Math Methods Experience”
By Allison Van Voy
When I started teaching four years ago, I had no idea how important number sense was to a student’s math understanding. I was fresh out of college, brand new to teaching, and number sense was not a concept I had learned in my math courses.
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 great, accessible problems but also create opportunities for students to openly share their ideas with others. It only makes sense that when I learned about routines that encouraged students to share the many ways they were thinking about math such as Number Talks, Notice and Wonder, and Which One Doesn’t Belong?, I was quick to go back to the classroom and try them with my students. It didn’t matter which unit we were in or lesson I had planned for that day, I plopped them in whenever and wherever I could because I was so curious to hear what students would say. Continue reading “Warm-up Routines With a Purpose”
By Jody Guarino
As a teacher, I constantly wonder how I can elicit student thinking in order to gain insight into the current thinking of my students and leverage their thoughts and ideas to build mathematical understandings for the class.
First, I need a task that will make student thinking visible. Here’s a task from Illustrative Mathematics, Peyton’s Books.
Peyton had 16 books to take on his trip. He lost some. Now he has 7 books. How many books did Peyton lose?