Culture Building with the Math Practice Standards

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SWBAT take an active role in shaping the culture of the classroom and learn about the value of the math practice standards.

Big Idea

With riddles, funny interviews, mission statements and slogans, this culture building unit helps get the year off to an exciting start!


10 minutes

As the students enter the classroom, I would display a PowerPoint (or similar) that shows the top three slogans from the class - the ones that they created in yesterday's lesson.  It is the students’ job to determine which of the three they will adopt as their own!  To accomplish this task, I utilize  This website is a valuable classroom tool that we use frequently in my courses.  Setting up an account on the site is free (with limited features) and I highly encourage you to check it out!  You can create polls in for a wide variety of activities or response types.  For this particular response, I have the students respond to Choice A – Choice B – or Choice C, which are aligned to their favorite mission statement and slogan.  The results of the poll are projected "real time" in a bar graph - a great entry level illustraiton of MP 4, by the way!    This not only accomplishes the task of quickly totaling the numbers, but it also familiarizes the students with a tool that we will use very frequently throughout the year.

Following the vote for the best slogan, I scroll through the 3 top mission statements and have the students vote on that as well.  I will have this mission statement ready for them to sign on the following day so that I can post it outside my classroom door.  The students take pride in this activity as they hope to create the most uniqe identifier of any class!

Transition to STEM Video

5 minutes

Prior to digging into the foundation of what will motivate our mathematical journey this year, the math practice standards, I have the students view this STEM Video advertisement that portrays several elementary students as job interview candidates. 

The video is funny to watch, and it illustrates to the students that they are nearing the end of their public school journey.  Job interviews are not as far fetched as they once were in their elementary school days!  Since many future careers are projected to be Science-Technology-Engineering- and Math focused, it is a great way to draw the students into the world of the Math Practice Standards.

I begin by asking the students:  When engaging in mathematics in “the most awesome and productive way,” what does this look like?

I take time to record the student responses on the board as they produce them.  When more clarity is needed, I probe the students to be more specific by asking if they could share an example for the class.  This activity leads us nicely into the roll out of the formal Math Practice Standards – many of which will be generalizations of the student’s responses on the board!  They know what good math looks and feels like as much as anyone… you don’t have to be an expert!

Math Practice Standards Homework Task

10 minutes