Practice and review play a critical role in the Investigations curriculum. Because students need repeated experience with an idea, concept, or skill in order to become fluent with it, opportunities for meaningful practice and review are embedded throughout Investigations. The result is a curriculum with an explicit, coherent, and comprehensive approach to review and practice.
Practice and review is built into the structure and sequence of the curriculum, units, and sessions.
- Curriculum & Units. Review and practice is built into the structure and sequence of the units across and within grades. The units in each math strand build on what came in previous grades, and prepare students for subsequent grades. Important ideas within grades receive similar attention. For example, in second grade, students are introduced to a model for representing tens and ones in Unit 3. The Classroom Routines and Practice Pages in Units 4 and 5 provide continued practice with these ideas, which Unit 6 picks up and expands on.
- Sessions. Every Session includes time for practice. Each day includes a Classroom Routine (K-3) or Ten-Minute Math Activity (3-5) that provides practice with current concepts and skills and review of previously introduced content. Practice in the Sessions may include: a whole-class discussion or activity; playing a game with a partner or working with a small group on an activity introduced earlier in the Session/Unit; or working independently on a Student Activity Book page. Games are a particularly powerful vehicle for review and practice as most students find them engaging (they want to play, repeatedly) and motivating (they want to play better, they want to win). Math Workshop—a classroom structure that allows students to work on a number of different activities at the same time—is one way that the curriculum provides time and space for varied practice. It also enables teachers to meet with students, and to suggest particular activities, targeted to students’ needs.
In addition, the following components offer opportunities for practice and review:
- The Student Activity Book. This workbook, available by unit or for the entire year, contains sheets used in class, homework pages, and Practice Pages. Homework Pages practice the work done in class, or prepare for an upcoming activity. The amount varies, increasing by grade, from only occasionally in Kindergarten to 4-5 times/week in fifth grade. Practice Pages present practice of current content, review of past content, or enrichment opportunities. Some present problems in common standardized test formats. They are designed to be used flexibly—for classroom practice outside of math time, as extra homework, or in before- and after-school programs.
- The Student Math Handbook. This resource, which summarizes and illustrates key math words and ideas at each grade, is a valuable reference that allows students to revisit and review the important math ideas they are working with throughout the year. The book can be used to reinforce the concepts and skills of current units and to review content from previous units. It also contains directions for math games that students play in school and at home.
- Family Letter: Related Activities to Try at Home. Every unit includes a Family Letter (pdf) that suggests activities families can do to support the mathematics students are working on at school.
Note that Practice and Review in this Unit, a page in the Introduction to every unit, summarizes the various opportunities for practice and review in that unit.