Research That Informed the Development of Investigations

The development of Investigations in Number, Data, and Space was informed by an extensive body of research on the teaching and learning of mathematics. Many of the resources and references that informed its development are compiled in this bibliography. The curriculum was also influenced by important national publications such as Principles and Standards of School Mathematics (NCTM, 2000), the National Research Council’s Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics (2001), and the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences’ The Mathematical Education of Teachers (2002), and by the large body of research on students’ understanding of number and operations.

Research was also conducted as part of the development process. Extensive field-testing involved documentation of thousands of hours in classrooms, observations of students, input from teachers, and analysis of student work. The field test not only provided information about how well the curriculum was working in real classrooms, but also led to new understandings of children’s learning. Such insights often provide a focus for new research. Researchers in several content areas collaborated directly with the Investigations team during the 18-year development and revision of the curriculum. These included: Douglas Clements and Michael Battista (geometry); Jan Mokros, Cliff Konold, and Andee Rubin (data); Ricardo Nemirovsky, Cornelia Tierney, and Tracy Noble (mathematics of change); Deborah Schifter and Virginia Bastable (early algebra).

An example of the cyclical nature of the process described above involves the development of work on early algebra in the 2nd edition of the curriculum (pdf). As development began, we looked to the many national publications and reports that have highlighted the importance of algebraic ideas K-12. As we pondered what this might mean for elementary classrooms, we considered the current literature on the topic by Deborah Ball, Hyman Bass, Maria Blanton, Thomas Carpenter, David Carraher, Megan Franke, James Kaput, Steve Monk, Robert Moses, Analucia Schliemann, and others. With this foundation, we developed and tested a wide range of activities focused on early algebraic ideas in our field-test classrooms. Based on observations of those activities in action, and on input from our collaborating teachers, activities were refined, expanded, sometimes moved to different grade levels, and tested again. This process of writing, observing, and rewriting resulted in the student curriculum and professional development materials for early algebra in Investigations as well as contributions to knowledge about the teaching and learning of early algebra in K-5 classrooms (for example: Russell et. al. 2006; Schweitzer, 2006; Schifter et. al. 2008; Schifter, 2009). The articles and research described above have been compiled in a bibliography of early algebra-related resources.

Specific research studies that examine the thinking and learning of students engaged with Investigations activities, materials, or software have been conducted by various researchers over the course of its development and implementation. See examples of such studies here.