Setting Up the Mathematical Community

Creating supportive and productive learning environments involves deciding how to set up the classroom and have math tools readily available, and how to establish routines and expectations for math class.

In thinking through such topics, it’s important to consider that students in an Investigations classroom work individually, in pairs or small groups, and as a whole class. When working in pairs or small groups, they need to be able to see one another’s work and listen to one another’s ideas. They need to be able to participate in Math Workshop, a structure that allows individuals, pairs, or small groups of students to work on a set of related activities that focus on similar mathematical content. Bringing students together for whole-group discussion is also a regular feature of the curriculum, and during these discussions it is important that students can easily see and hear one another. Students also need easy access to games and math materials, and an understanding of how they should be used, shared, and cared for.

The curriculum includes several teacher-written cases on Setting Up the Mathematical Community in each grade, as one way to help teachers think through such issues. An example from each grade is available for download below.

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The Math Time resources by Kathy Richardson offer print and video support in developing “a positive environment for learning mathematics” in grades K-2.