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.

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 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 Kate Nowak

When I was teaching high school mathematics, my local colleagues and I spent a whole lot of time creating problem-based lessons. We were convinced that this style of instruction was a good way to learn, but the textbooks in use at our school simply contained definitions and theorems, worked examples, and practice problems. One day I was talking to my dad about how much time I had been spending lesson planning. His response was, “People have been teaching geometry for, what, 3,000 years? Shouldn’t the lessons be, like, already planned?”

Continue reading “Presenting IM Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2”

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 separately at the same time, and she solved it first. Some time later that evening she came into my room to find me in tears of frustration. Instead of helping me, she asked: “Do you want me to tell you the solution?” I said no and she left. I will never forget the joy when I finally figured it out.

Continue reading “What is problem-based instruction?”

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 teacher, both orally and in writing, using the language of mathematics—positively affect participation and engagement among all students.

Principles to Action, NCTM

The beginning of the school year offers teachers and students a fresh start full of exciting possibilities. From the first day of class, as we begin to learn about each of the students in front of us, we have the opportunity to set the stage for how learning math will look, sound, and feel throughout the year. We also begin to foster the attitudes and beliefs that are important in shaping a mathematical classroom community in which each and every student is positioned as a capable learner and doer of mathematics, truly believes their voice is valued and heard, and understands that we learn math by doing deep and meaningful mathematics together. Building this classroom community requires a purposeful process that takes time and careful attention.

Continue reading “Building a Mathematical Classroom Community”

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”

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 Math curriculum and are looking forward to High School and Elementary.

Check out some photos and all of the IM presentations below, including Bill McCallum’s The Promise of Open Curriculum.

Which presentations did you attend and which was your favorite? Continue reading “NCSM and NCTM 2018 Roundup”

By William McCallum and Kate Nowak

People use routines for all kinds of things. Routines give structure to time and interactions. People like structure. When a child comes home from school, there might be a routine. She expects a snack, homework time, play time, dinner, some television, a bath, pajamas, a book, and to get tucked into bed. She might have responsibilities, like setting the table for dinner, and engage in predictable dialog along the way, like sharing something that happened at school. She might expect her father to sing her a song. (Over and over and over again, in the case of my daughters—Bill.) The routine makes her comfortable and makes necessary chores go smoothly. Continue reading “What is an instructional routine?”

By Jennifer Wilson

1. “Nothing”
2. “Math”
3. “The questions on this worksheet”
4. “Deciding if two figures are congruent”

During class, one of your students asks you, “Is this going to be on the test?”

How do you respond?

1. Pretend like you didn’t hear the question
2. With an eye roll
3. “Everything I say is going to be on the test”
4. “Let’s see how what we’re doing is connected to today’s learning goals”

We know from years of math education research that establishing and sharing learning goals are important for both teachers and students. Even so, we don’t always agree with when and how they should be shared.