8 Standards for Mathematical Practice

Feb 24, 2017

The 8 Standards for Mathematical Practices are what I feel is the biggest shift in history in how we teach math. We are not simply putting a new name on the old way of doing business in math education, but instead we are actually changing to a new method of educating students in mathematics.

8 SMPsWe can’t expect to give students the same input we’ve been giving them for years and receive a different output. Math lessons that are 100% teacher directed, utilize “ping-pong” math (teacher asks a question, gets an answer from the student, and fires off another question), or emphasize students memorizing procedures and concepts they don’t understand must become a thing of the past. Traditionally, we teach math “a mile long” by covering concepts “an inch deep” just to make it to the finish line. The result: students lacking a solid foundation of number sense in the elementary years, which causes problems when they move to algebra and other higher-order math.
The 8 Standards of Mathematical Practice (SMPs) represent a different input. As educators, we know differently about how students learn and understand math concepts, and thus we have a responsibility to act differently based on that knowledge. In order to be effective, today’s math instruction should involve a focus on inquiry-based teaching and student-directed lessons based on a correct implementation of the 8 SMPs blended with grade-level math standards. This will allow for students’ understanding of math concepts to extend “a mile deep,” even into the realm of real life application.
However, when reading the 8 SMPs, teachers often struggle to understand how they fully relate to their students in their grade level. I always recommend examining these 8 practices vertically, across the grade levels, to see how they build on each other and change from one level to the next. Check out these great resources from K-12 dissecting each practice
To download all four documents at once, grab the free 8 SMPs Reference Document Bundle from our store!
Shannon also has two FREE webinars linked from our Math Resources page: https://sis4teachers.org/math-resources/
(Scroll down to the 8 SMPs tab on the left side of the page.) While you’re there, be sure to check out the rest of our FREE math resources!
math resource page

Stay tuned for an 8 Standards for Mathematical Practice Pop Quiz, coming next week!

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