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Standards for Mathematical Practice 101

Today I had my third of three days looking over the district's materials and seeing how they aligned with the Common Core State Standards.  It was most definitely another worthwhile day!  

Today's focus was math.  The CCSS in Math has two parts. There's the Standards for Mathematical Practice, and the Standards for Mathematical Content.  

The Standards for Mathematical Practice are the same for all grades. Today we compared them to Science Process Skills, as opposed to the Content skills. They are definitely valuable skills!

Here are the Standards for Mathematical Practice:  (for a full explanation of each standard, see this link.)
  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.  The words "making sense" kept coming up all day, as did the words "persevere" and "stamina". I know I've had plenty of kids who could solve math problems, but their answer didn't make much sense! Then there were others who didn't stick with it long enough to solve it! Definitely a skill worth working on!
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively. This is about knowing what one needs to do to solve the problem, and explaining it. I immediately thought of those kids who solved tough math problems easily, then couldn't explain what they did to figure it out. Both parts are important!
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. This is another thing that kept coming up in 3 days of discussing Common Core... sharing opinions, supporting opinions, speaking and listening.
  4. Model with mathematics. This is the "application" of the skill, applying mathematics to everyday life. Again, this one is about thinking, "does it make sense?"  
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically. This can be as simple as measuring inches with a ruler to designing and analyzing graphs using technology. Mathematicians need to know which tools are needed in which situation, and use them appropriately.
  6. Attention to precision. Mathematicians need to be clear, careful, accurate and exact. After all, "almost" counts in horseshoes, but not mathematical situations.  
  7. Look for and make use of structure. This standard is about looking for patterns in mathematics, and building on what they already know.
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.This one is all about finding patterns, short cuts, and making it make sense!
We had some great discussion at the workshop today, which really helped me understand these better! In the three days, we noticed certain things kept coming up... stamina, making sense of their work, giving supporting evidence for opinions, looking for patterns, speaking and listening skills, accuracy, and explaining one's thinking. I found myself referring to these as the "Process" skills, where the other ones I referred to as the "Content" skills. I also noticed that these Standards for Mathematical Practice kept making me remember the levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.   

What do you notice about the Standards for Mathematical Practice?


  1. This tips will guide us on how to practice math and learn the proper way for it. In order for us not to be confused in finding and solving worksheets. It's the way to learn math an interesting and challenging subject not a boring one.

    Jojo @ 3rd grade math worksheet

  2. Jojo,

    I love the Standards for Mathematical Practice! They really tell what math is all about!



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