A Snapshot of Mathematics
The Everyday Mathematics Program is a standards-based program that is a complete K-6 mathematics curriculum that embraces many of the traditional goals of school mathematics as well as two ambitious new goals:
- To substantially raise expectations with respect to the amount and range of mathematics that children can learn
- To provide materials for children and support for teachers that enable them to meet these higher expectations
Everyday Mathematics introduces children to all the major mathematical content domains – number sense, algebra, measurement, geometry, data analysis and probability – beginning in Kindergarten. The program helps teachers move beyond basic arithmetic and nurture higher order and critical thinking skills in their students, using everyday, real-world problems and situations – while also building and maintaining basic skills, including automatic fact recall.
The Everyday Mathematics program features a spiraling curriculum in which mathematical content is taught in a repeated fashion, beginning with concrete experiences. Children learn best when new topics are presented briskly and in an interesting way. Most children will not master a new topic the first time it is presented, so Everyday Mathematics allows children to revisit content in varied contexts, integrating new learning with previous knowledge. Everyday Mathematics periodically reviews, practices, and applies newly learned concepts and skills in wide variety of contexts.
Assessment is closely linked with instruction. While some formal assessment is necessary (district and state-mandated tests), a balanced approach, including less formal, ongoing methods, will provide a more complete picture of student progress. A number of assessment tools are built into the program to help create an assessment program that will give feedback about students’ instructional needs.
Everyday Mathematics curriculum content for Grades K-5 is organized into the following content strands:
- Data and Chance
- Measurement and Reference Frames
- Patterns, Function, and Algebra
Connected Math 2 (CMP2)
The Connected Mathematics Program is a standards-based, problem-centered curriculum. The role of the teacher in a problem-centered curriculum differs from the traditional role, in which the teacher explains ideas thoroughly and demonstrates procedures so students can quickly and accurately duplicate these procedures. A problem-centered curriculum is best suited to an inquiry model of instruction. The teacher and students investigate a series of problems; through discussion of solution methods, embedded mathematics, and appropriate generalizations students grow in their ability to become reflective learners. Teachers have a crucial role to play in establishing the expectations for discussion in the classroom and for orchestrating discourse on a daily basis.
The Connected Mathematics Program uses a three-phase instructional model, which contains a Launch of the lesson, an Exploration of the central problem, and a Summary of the new learning.
The Launch of a lesson is typically done as a whole class; yet during this launch phase of instruction students are sometimes asked to think about a question individually before discussing their ideas as a whole class. The launch phase is also the time when the teacher introduces new ideas, clarifies definitions, reviews old concepts, and connects the problem to past experiences of the students. It is critical that, while giving students a clear picture of what is expected, the teacher is careful not to reveal too much and lower the challenge of the task to something routine, or limit the rich array of strategies that may evolve from an open launch of the problem.
In the Explore phase, students may work individually, in pairs, in small groups, or occasionally as a whole class to solve the problem. As they work, they gather data, share ideas, look for patterns, make conjectures, and develop problem-solving strategies. The teacher’s role during this phase is to move about the classroom, observing individual performance and encouraging on-task behavior. The teacher helps students persevere in their work by asking appropriate questions and providing confirmation or redirection where needed. For students who are interested in deeper investigation, the teacher may provide extra challenges related to the problem. These challenges are provided in the Teacher’s Guide.
Substantive whole-class discussion most often occurs during the Summarize phase when individuals and groups share their results. Led by the teacher’s questions, the students investigate ideas and strategies and discuss their thoughts. Questioning by other students and the teacher, challenges students’ ideas, driving the development of important concepts. Working together, the students synthesize information, look for generalities, and extract the strategies and skills involved in solving the problem. Since the goal of the summarize phase is to make the mathematics in the problem more explicit, teachers often pose, toward the end of the summary, a quick problem or two to be done individually as a check of student progress.