Visualizing the Standards for Mathematical Practice

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SWBAT understand and apply the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice by creating visual representations of the Math Practices in Action.

Big Idea

Students create elaborate visualizations of Mathematical Practices in this Collaborative and Engaging Activity!

Instructional Note to Teachers: Visualizing Standards for Mathematical Practice

I love this simple yet powerful activity. Students really get engaged in visualizing the different standards for mathematical practice.

This lesson is in the Functions Unit, mostly because it is the first unit of the school year and I like to have students know about, and make their own meaning, the Mathematical Practices early in the year. 

That being said, this is a great lesson for a shortened day or early release. My classes typically run for about 90 minutes, but we often have early release and/or Professional Development days where classes run about 60 minutes or so. This lesson typically takes  an hour and is a great "hook"/entry point to engage a wider range of students.


Entry Ticket: A Sentence, A Phrase and A Word - Standards for Mathematical Practice

15 minutes

For today's Entry Ticket Visualizing Standards for Mathematical Practice, I have students quietly read the Standards for Mathematical Practice Common Core State Standards Initiative and complete the following task:

After reading the Standards, highlight one sentence, one phrase and one word that you think captures the meaning of each standard.

The reason for this activity is it helps students pick out the more relevant aspects of the Standards. It also provides students with practice at paraphrasing and summarizing information about problem solving.

After students record their ideas, I take the time to go around the room and have each student read a sentence, a phrase, and finally a word that was chosen to represent a Standard.


Teacher's Note: One interesting way to utilize technology for this activity is to have students reply to the prompt using a clicker application like Socrative. That way student response could be projected so all students can see their responses. As an add on, a Wordle could be made as another means of visualizing student thinking.

Collaborative Work: Visualizing Standards for Mathematical Practices

45 minutes

For the next section of class, I have students work collaboratively in small groups on the Collaborative Work: Visualizing Standards for Mathematical Practice

For this task, students are asked to choose at least one of the Standards for Mathematical Practice and make a visual representation of that practice. I like to have students choose their own Standard. Then, I take a quick poll of the class to make sure that we have a breadth of different standards that will be visualized. If necessary, I will ask (or assign) some of the Math Practices to one or more groups. 

During this activity, my role is that of a facilitator. At the beginning, I focus on being sure that all the groups have initiated the task and are beginning to get to work. Once the ball is rolling, students tend to take this activity and run with it. 

At the close of class, I like to have each group present and explain their work to the class and also display the excellent work in the classroom. I find that asking students to display their work helps to instill a culture of respect and ownership for students, and also is a great reminder of the mathematical practices that we want to engage in on a regular basis in the math classroom.