Investigations Blog

Creating an Equitable Math Learning Community: Getting Started in Unit 1

A focus on the development of students’ mathematical ideas requires the establishment of an equitable mathematics learning community. Such a community embodies the commitment to provide access to rigorous, cognitively demanding mathematics for each and every student, especially those who have been historically marginalized in mathematics classrooms—Black, Latinx, Emergent Bilingual, gender- and neurologically-diverse learners. This work begins at the start of the school year (and in the...

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A Space for All of Us: Setting Up the Classroom Environment

“The space has to be a sort of aquarium that mirrors the ideas, values, attitudes, and cultures of the people who live in it.” – Loris Malaguzzi, The Hundred Languages of Children. The start of the school year is an exciting time for teachers, children, and families. I remember the joy of putting together an inviting, student-centered room. Early in my teaching career this meant shopping for folders, name tags, borders and cutouts, and countless hours designing bulletin boards and displays....

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Developing Norms in the Investigations 3 Classroom

Our first blog about norms discussed ways to work with students to establish norms that support the development of an equitable and inclusive mathematics learning community. In this blog, we share some of the ways the Investigations curriculum supports teachers in doing that work. In the first few days and weeks of school, students in Investigations classrooms work independently, with partners, and in small groups; make choices and use materials during Math Workshop; and participate in...

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Ready, Set, Norms!

The beginning of the year is an exciting time; one that offers us an opportunity to get to know our students. As we learn their interests, cultures, developing identities, and preferences we are simultaneously thinking about how we can create an equitable learning community that values and respects varied ideas, competencies, and contributions. A critical component of an inclusive classroom community is the development of norms. Many of us remember the beginning of school as a time when...

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Establishing an Equitable Learning Community in the Investigations Classroom

The question is not whether all students can succeed in mathematics but whether the adults organizing mathematical learning opportunities can alter traditional beliefs and practices to promote success for all. (NCTM 2014 Principles to Actions) The development of children’s mathematical ideas is at the heart of the Investigations curriculum which supports teachers in deepening their understanding of the mathematics they teach and how their students come to understand it. Equitable learning...

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“Why are there so much 1s in these numbers?”

Last spring, I visited a Kindergarten classroom near the end of the year. Students were participating in a Math Workshop focused on the teen numbers, choosing among activities that asked them to identify and recognize teen numbers; to represent them in several different ways (e.g. on Ten Frames, with cubes, with numerals); and, ultimately, to come to see them as being composed of ten ones and some numbers of ones.  I wandered over to Stella, who was playing Race to the Top: Teen Numbers. In...

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Getting Started: What’s Critical at the Beginning of the Year? Part 2

We recently asked a group of experienced Investigations teachers the following question: How do you think about creating a math community? What’s critical, particularly at the beginning of the year? In Part 1, we shared their thoughts about setting up the classroom, organizing the math materials, and establishing and maintaining norms. Here, we share their thoughts about Math Workshop and discussions – two structures they cited as critical to a successful and productive math learning...

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Getting Started: What’s Critical at the Beginning of the Year? Part 1

In our summer work with teachers, many of whom are new to Investigations and/or are rethinking the way they teach mathematics, we get lots of questions. Some come up after reading about a structure like Math Workshop, or seeing a list of materials needed for Unit 1. Others arise after “visiting” a classroom – via a Dialogue Box or video of a classroom. For example: How did students learn to discuss math ideas, and listen to each other, like that? Pairs were working independently, all over the...

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When the Math Is What’s Exciting

I’ve been really lucky to spend time in a grade 1 classroom this spring, as they tackle the final number unit of the year. 1U7 is the culmination of students’ work with addition, subtraction, and place value. Building on the work of the earlier number units, it introduces some big, important ideas, many of which are new to the 3rd edition of grade 1. These are first graders who had the 3rd edition in Kindergarten and now have a self-proclaimed lover of math, who is teaching the 3rd edition for...

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“This is Only Getting Better!…And Harder!”

Who knew a deck of +10/-10 cards could be so exciting? A group of 25 first graders, that’s who. As their teacher, Karla, introduced them to Plus or Minus 10, she explained that they would need numeral cards (10-90), cubes (assembled in sticks of ten), and a new deck of cards. When she displayed the +10/-10 cards, the students, many of them on their knees, some literally bouncing up and down and clapping, were clearly excited. Oooo… Whoa… Plus ten… Minus ten. I hear two students exclaim This is...

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