## About Illustrative Mathematics (IM) 6-8 Math

Illustrative Mathematics follows the following protocol or routines to deliver a balanced Common Core Curriculum. Family materials can be accessed here.
To learn more, visit the IM website. |

**Problem-Based Curriculum**

In a problem-based curriculum, students work on carefully crafted and sequenced mathematics problems during most of the instructional time. Teachers help students understand the problems and guide discussions to be sure that the mathematical take-aways are clear to all. Not all mathematical knowledge can be discovered, so direct instruction is sometimes appropriate. On the other hand, some concepts and procedures follow from definitions and prior knowledge and students can, with appropriately constructed problems, see this for themselves. In the process, they explain their ideas and reasoning and learn to communicate mathematical ideas. The goal is to give students just enough background and tools to solve initial problems successfully, and then set them to increasingly sophisticated problems as their expertise increases.

The value of a problem-based approach is that students spend most of their time in math class doing mathematics: making sense of problems, estimating, trying different approaches, selecting and using appropriate tools, evaluating the reasonableness of their answers, interpreting the significance of their answers, noticing patterns and making generalizations, explaining their reasoning verbally and in writing, listening to the reasoning of others, and building their understanding. Mathematics is not a spectator sport.

The value of a problem-based approach is that students spend most of their time in math class doing mathematics: making sense of problems, estimating, trying different approaches, selecting and using appropriate tools, evaluating the reasonableness of their answers, interpreting the significance of their answers, noticing patterns and making generalizations, explaining their reasoning verbally and in writing, listening to the reasoning of others, and building their understanding. Mathematics is not a spectator sport.

**A Typical Lesson**

A typical lesson may include:

- A warm-up
- One or more instructional activities
- The lesson synthesis
- A cool-down

**The Warm Up**

The first event in every lesson is a warm-up. A warm-up either:

A warm-up that helps students get ready for the day's lesson might serve to remind them of a context they have seen before, get them thinking about where the previous lesson left off, or preview a calculation that will happen in the lesson so that the calculation doesn't get in the way of learning new mathematics.

A warm-up is meant to strengthen number sense or procedural fluency and ask students to do mental arithmetic or reason numerically or algebraically. It gives them a chance to make deeper connections or become more flexible in their thinking.

Four instructional routines frequently used in warm-ups are Number Talks, Notice and Wonder, Which One Doesn’t Belong, and True or False. In addition to the mathematical purposes, these routines serve the additional purpose of strengthening students’ skills in listening and speaking about mathematics.

- helps students get ready for the day’s lesson, or
- gives students an opportunity to strengthen their number sense or procedural fluency.

A warm-up that helps students get ready for the day's lesson might serve to remind them of a context they have seen before, get them thinking about where the previous lesson left off, or preview a calculation that will happen in the lesson so that the calculation doesn't get in the way of learning new mathematics.

A warm-up is meant to strengthen number sense or procedural fluency and ask students to do mental arithmetic or reason numerically or algebraically. It gives them a chance to make deeper connections or become more flexible in their thinking.

Four instructional routines frequently used in warm-ups are Number Talks, Notice and Wonder, Which One Doesn’t Belong, and True or False. In addition to the mathematical purposes, these routines serve the additional purpose of strengthening students’ skills in listening and speaking about mathematics.

**Instructional Activities**

After the warm-up, lessons consist of a sequence of one to three classroom activities. The activities are the heart of the mathematical experience and make up the majority of the time spent in class.

An activity can serve one or more of many purposes.

An activity can serve one or more of many purposes.

- Provide experience with a new context.
- Introduce a new concept and associated language.
- Introduce a new representation.
- Formalize a definition of a term for an idea previously encountered informally.
- Identify and resolve common mistakes and misconceptions that people make.
- Practice using mathematical language.
- Work toward mastery of a concept or procedure.
- Provide an opportunity to apply mathematics to a modeling or other application problem.

**Lesson Synthesis**

After the activities for the day are done, students should take time to synthesize what they have learned. Each lesson includes a Lesson Synthesis section that assists the teacher with ways to help students incorporate new insights gained during the activities into their big-picture understanding.

**Cool-Down**

Lessons may include a cool-down task to be given to students at the end of the lesson. Students are meant to work on the cool-down for about 5 minutes independently and turn it in. The cool-down serves as a brief formative assessment to determine whether students understood the lesson. Students’ responses to the cool-down can be used to make adjustments to further instruction. Cool-downs may also be used for mid unit assessment tools and may be provided prior to end of unit assessments for extra practice.