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Illustrative Mathematics

Illustrative Mathematics is a community of educators dedicated to the coherent learning of mathematics
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
Illustrative Mathematics
Published: 
2011
Resource Type: 
Research
Abstract: 

The Illustrative Mathematics website shares an extensive and carefully vetted collection of instructional and assessment tasks that have been aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for mathematics. While this website is not designed for teachers of adult education, the search engine makes it easy to isolate College and Career Ready (CCR) standards of interest and find aligned tasks that can be adopted or adapted for use with adult learners. 

The Grade 7 task Discounted Books is an example of an exemplary task that could be used with adult educators. https://www.illustrativemathematics.org/content-standards/EE/7/B/3/tasks/478

Illustrative Mathematics is a community of educators dedicated to the coherent learning of mathematics. Founded in 2011 at the University of Arizona, it has operated since 2013 as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.

Benefits and Uses: 

The primary resource on this website is the tasks aligned with the CCSS Content Standards for Mathematics. It contains approximately 1000 tasks spanning grades K through 12, many of which will be useful to adult education teachers.  These tasks have been carefully vetted thereby helping to ensure their quality and alignment.  Each task also has a section for comments at the bottom, so users of the task can make comments or offer edits. 

The search and sort mechanisms give users the capability to focus solely on CCR standards. It is possible to perform searches for tasks either by grade level for Grades K-8 and high school or by content domain, according to the organizational structure of the CCSS. A search by grade lists all tasks for that grade, which are then further categorized according to domain, cluster, and standard. A search by domain lists all tasks for the relevant grade band, further categorized by grade, cluster, and standard.  It is also possible to use key words and filters (grade, domain, cluster, and standard) to search for tasks. In addition, the website allows users to add tags, including for the Standards for Mathematical Practice, for any task. Many tasks are already tagged with one or more Practice, making it easier to locate tasks that address a particular Practice.

The tasks available on this website will be of primary use to teachers seeking to identify aligned activities to support the implementation of the CCR standards in their instruction. The tasks that align with CCR standards can be adopted or adapted by adult education teachers for use in their classrooms. Care will need to be taken in screening and selecting tasks to make sure they are appropriate for adult learners. 

The Grade 7 task Discounted Books provides a good real-life Level D example of a mathematics application, which could be used in class or for homework.

In addition, the tags, illustrations, and elaborations for the Practices have the potential to be useful for coaches, professional developers, and curriculum developers as a focus for collaborative work. They could be used to stimulate deep conversations about the Practices in professional development sessions or in professional learning communities. The features provided to support implementation of the Practices should also be useful to adult education teachers who are trying to gain a more in-depth understanding of them.

The tasks and the elaborations and illustrations of the Mathematical Practice Standards should prove to be valuable tools for adult education teachers and those who support them. The fact that the tasks have been carefully vetted is a plus, and the search engines available to help identify tasks aligned with specific standards should help users from the adult education community focus on those standards relevant to adult education students.

 As demonstrated by the exemplary Grade 7 task Discounted Books, the tasks are presented in a clear and consistent manner, which teachers will find useful. Each task includes the CCSS math content standard(s) to which the task aligns as wells as commentary on the purpose, a printable student view, and the solution(s) with an explanation. Users can also add relevant tags and offer and read user comments on the task. A sidebar for each task clearly identifies the domain, grade cluster, and standard with which the task aligns. A user-friendly interface lets users click on tabs and/or links to get further detail. 

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