The Common Core State Standards for Math actually include two types of standards: the content standards and the standards for mathematical practice. The content standards define the specific skills that are to be mastered at each grade level. For example, multiplication, division, and fractions are all content standards for 3rd grade. The standards for mathematical practice, however, outline how students go about doing the math. They are skills, based on the NCTM process standards, which students should utilize on a daily basis, regardless of the content being taught. In other words, they should be embedded into daily math instruction, rather than taught in isolation. Too often, however, teachers focus their attention and energy on the content standards and neglect the mathematical practices, resulting in students with only a surface level understanding of the math they are doing.
So what are the standards for mathematical practices, and how can teachers go about incorporating them into their lessons? Let’s start by taking a look at the standards:
If you’re looking for visual aids on the Mathematical Practices for your classroom, check out my primary and intermediate poster sets.