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Exploring the History of the 8 Mathematical Practices

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The eight mathematical practices is the bi-product of two very important research products, the five process standards from Principles and Standards for School Mathematics and the five mathematical proficiencies from Adding It Up.  For educators to truly understand the 8 mathematical practices we must go deeper into where the practices originated. The process described below is one approach to go deeper.  This process assumes the group already has an understanding of the mathematical practices.  Although the process described below is done within groups, it can be changed to fit your district's particular needs.


Step # 1 - Assign each group a process standard from Principles and Standards for School Mathematics.

A.   Communication

B.    Representation

C.    Connections

D.   Problem Solving

E.    Reasoning


Step # 2 - Each group is to read their assigned process standard, highlighting, and taking notes.  When each member is finished reading the group should discuss the "big ideas" about their process standard and write each "big idea" on a 3" x 5" sticky note.  (It is BEST if each group has a different colored sticky note.  This allows a quick glance of which process standard aligns to each mathematical practice.)  This dialogue and discussion usually takes about 15 minutes. 


Step # 3 - Each group carousels with their sticky notes around chart papers hung up around the room.  The chart papers are each labeled with a mathematical practice at the top.  As they carousel, groups attach a sticky note if it has a direct connection with the mathematical practice.


Step # 4 - When the group has finished placing their sticky notes on the charts (some may fit in more than one place and it is OK to duplicate), each group gives a summary of their process standard and where they placed their sticky notes on the charts. (The different color sticky notes allow a quick glance.)


Step # 5 - This process is repeated using the Mathematical Proficiencies from Adding It Up and the same charts (with the process sticker notes attached).  Assign each group a mathematical proficiency.

A.   Conceptual Understanding

B.    Procedural Fluency

C.    Strategic Competence

D.   Adaptive Reasoning

E.    Productive Disposition

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