The Math Practices in Investigations 3

Developing an understanding of what it means to do mathematics is fundamentally about the practices of the discipline. Investigations has always integrated core mathematical practices that focus on reasoning, communication, and making sense into the learning sequence.

Investigations 3 makes more explicit the mathematical practices that have always been embedded in the materials. The eight mathematical practices spelled out in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, and in the Elementary Elaborations, which frame each practice in an elementary context, provide a useful and comprehensive framework for highlighting this work.

Because students must have focused opportunities to learn and practice how to engage in these practices, two are highlighted in every unit. (With 8 units per grade, each practice is highlighted twice during the year.) The highlighted practices were chosen because the particular math content provided important opportunities for students to learn how to engage in that practice. Assessment Checklists are provided for assessing students’ progress with the highlighted practices.

Features That Support Teachers’ and Students’ Work on the Math Practices

Students don’t automatically learn to make sense of problems any more than they automatically understand the base ten system. For that reason, Investigations 3 includes extensive support to help teachers make these practices a focus of instruction and assessment. Features focused on the Mathematical Practices include:

Mathematical Practices in This Unit Essay

This essay, in the front matter of each unit, elaborates on the two highlighted math practices and provides examples of students engaged in those practices while working on activities in the unit. Each section begins with the text of the Elementary Elaboration, and ends with a table that highlights where the Assessment Checklist for that practice is used.

Grade K, Unit 8, pp. 10-11

Sidebars: Math Practice Notes 

Notes about the Mathematical Practices appear throughout the sessions. These notes alert teachers to opportunities for students to engage in a particular Practice, and offer tips for attending to that Practice. Sidebars that focus on one of the highlighted practices includes a magnifying glass icon, , as in the MP7 example below.


What does it look like when students engage in the MPs? What is the teacher’s role in supporting the MPs? Learn more about taking the Mathematical Practices seriously as part of instruction in Making Sense of and Persevering with the Mathematical Practices by Deborah Schifter and Susan Jo Russell

Grade K, Unit 8, p. 41

Grade K, Unit 8, p. 81

Features that Support Assessment of the Math Practices

Opportunities to observe students’ work on the Math Practices are embedded in two ways.

Every session has an Observing the Students section—a tool for ongoing assessment. This section provides questions for teachers to think about as they observe and interact with students as they work on mathematics problems. When relevant, Investigations 3 includes questions that focus on the highlighted math practices, indicated by the magnifying class icon and the Math Practice number, .

Grade K, Unit 8, p. 98

Each unit includes an Assessment Checklist for each highlighted practice. (Sometimes, a single checklist is used toe assess both practices, as in the example below.) These checklists are connected to one or more activities that provide opportunities for the teacher to observe students engaging in the practice and to gauge their progress with the practice. Like the Ongoing Assessment questions, these checklists show the close integration of the math content and math practices.

Grade K, Unit 8, A32

Learn More

To learn more, watch our webinar about the Mathematical Practices in Investigations 3.