# Investigations Blog

## Helping with Math Homework

In schools that use Investigations, families often feel unsure of how to help their children with math homework. Many parents/caregivers have told me that they don’t understand the strategies their children are using and don’t know what to do if their child is struggling with a homework assignment. The math education field has work to do to help families make sense of how math is being taught, and to help them figure out how to support their children in mathematics learning. However, I think a...

read more## Multiplication in 5th Grade: What Are Some Issues?

Last year, my colleague Keith and I worked a few times with a group of 5th grade teachers. One of the questions they asked us to help them think about related to this 5th grade benchmark: “Fluently solve multidigit multiplication problems using a variety of strategies including the U.S. standard algorithm.” They told us that they had students who could multiply 2-digits by 2-digits successfully but struggled with 3-digit by 2-digit multiplication problems. They wanted to discuss the...

read more## A Grade 2 Q&A: The Size of the Numbers

Question: If the CCSS indicates that Grade 2 students are supposed to be working with numbers to 1,000, why doesn’t this work begin sooner? Why are students still working with numbers under 20 and numbers under 100 for so much of the year? Answer: The Common Core State Standards at Grade 2 include work with numbers up to 1,000, but it is important to look closely at what students are expected to do with these numbers. In Grade 2 students are developing efficient and accurate strategies...

read more## Q&A: The Order of the Units

Question: Can the Investigations units be taught in a different order than suggested?Answer: The first edition of Investigations was written as a “replacement unit” model where individual units within a grade were somewhat less dependent on previous units, and schools and districts often chose their own sequence, or decided to teach only 3 or 4 units the first year of implementation. That was the 1990s! The units in the 2nd and 3rd editions were written as a complete, coherent, full-year...

read more## The Bad Rep of Word Problems: “Two trains leave the station…”

When people want to make a joke about how difficult, convoluted, or inaccessible word problems are, they often cite some version of the “two trains” problem. You can see an example of this problem here: Maybe you want to try solving this problem yourself before reading on. (Maybe not!) The “two trains” problem has become an emblem in popular culture. Saying the opening phrase, “Two trains leave different stations at the same time …,” invariably results in uncomfortable laughter. It surfaces...

read more## Q&A: Mathematical Vocabulary in Investigations 3

Question: How does Investigations approach the teaching and learning of mathematical vocabulary?Answer: In Investigations 3, mathematical vocabulary is introduced as a natural part of the conversation during activities and discussions, along-side students’ own words. Rather than memorizing the definitions of new terms, students come to understand such words as factor or area or symmetry as they investigate and discuss new concepts. Hearing new mathematical terms used regularly, and having...

read more## Words of Wisdom: Lessons from Year 1

We often talk to and hear from teachers, coaches, and administrators who are just beginning their work with the Investigations curriculum. Taking on a new curriculum is challenging work even if you have taught a previous edition; while the content may be familiar, teachers have never taught these particular lessons, in this particular order before. They must read and prepare anew, for a whole school year. People in this situation often ask us, what advice do you have about the first year of...

read more## 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...

read more## 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...

read more## Announcing an Online Community!

We are excited to announce the launch of the Investigations Online Community! This community will include a forum for each grade level and one for K-5 topics. Each will be moderated by a member of the Investigations Center for Curriculum and Professional Development. Our vision for this community is that it will connect Investigations users and create a space for teachers, coaches, and administrators to share ideas, pose questions, and discuss issues related to Investigations and to the...

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