




Digging into the first Standard for Mathematical Practice
The adoption of the Common Core State Standards is creating a fundamental shift in the way we learn and teach mathematics. The Standards for Mathematical Practice are meant to help bridge the gap that exists between where students are, and where they need to be to meet the rigors of the CCSS Content Standards. 






Like most problems in life, there isn't always a checklist to tell us how we should begin to solve problems, or what resources we should reference to find a solution. Instead, we need to figure these things out on our own, or sometimes with the help of others. The same applies to math instruction. 

Here are some tips on ways to introduce your learners to the first Standard for Mathematical Practice:



Ask students how they would describe the problem in their own words. 





Facilitate conversation to determine what is known and not known in the problem. 





Inquire if there are any simpler ways to represent the problem. 





Leverage manipulatives or use other visual aids to facilitate further discussion and understanding of the problem. 







The most important thing to remember is to let students explore. If they have adequate background to figure out how to make progress on a problem, then let them sort through how to tackle it. It's not about a right answer here—it's about letting students think about how they could solve a problem with what they know. This useful skill will help round out their problemsolving toolbox, connecting it to more advanced math and realworld applications for years to come. 








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