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Problem-Based Middle School Math Curriculum

April 1, 2020

Are you looking for a curriculum to support your middle school math students? The team at Illustrative Mathematics reached out to me earlier this year to share their special resources for sixth, seventh, and eighth-graders. They have a middle school math curriculum and professional learning for teachers.

In this blog post, I’ll share an overview of the curriculum and some of its unique resources for educators. If you haven’t heard of Illustrative Mathematics before they’re a non-profit organization with a mission to create a world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. Today, they do this by offering aligned and engaging curriculum supported with professional learning. They focus on providing students with opportunities to problem-solve while helping teachers support students throughout the process.

Throughout their curriculum, Illustrative Mathematics guides teachers to ask questions that advance student thinking while facilitating discussion on the problems students are working to solve. There are also assessment opportunities available for students along with professional development supports for teachers.

Middle School Math Curriculum

Although the folks at Illustrative Mathematics offer curriculum for students in K-12, I want to share a little bit more about their middle school offerings. Regular readers of the blog know that I taught fifth grade for several years. My goal was for students to understand our grade-level math content and be ready to tackle everything middle school would bring.

The middle school math curriculum from Illustrative Mathematics is designed to support sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students and their teachers. There are also formative assessment opportunities and lots of activities for students. The 6-8 curriculum was released in 2017 and designed with standards in mind.

Math Unit Example

You can demo the curriculum straight from their website by using this link. It will give you a sense of the topics and units covered at each grade level. The screenshot below shares a peek at the units included in the seventh-grade curriculum.

Each unit is broken down into lessons with broader topics listed on the left-hand side. You can click on each one to access resources that help with preparation, leading the lesson, and providing practice opportunities for students. 

As you can see in the screenshot below, there are resources for each lesson. This setup makes it easy to navigate and find everything you’ll need. There are supports for teachers along the way. These supports include a breakdown of each lesson and an overview of all of the practice problems.

Middle School Math Resources

The Illustrative Mathematics website is full of supports for teachers. In addition to the unit and lesson breakdowns I went through above, there are plenty of additional resources for professional development and support. You can access these support materials directly from the Illustrative Mathematics website.

The authors of the curriculum put together an exclusive webinar with more information on the program. You can also watch the recording above. On the Illustrative Mathematics website, you can also find information about standards alignment, success stories, and some of their partners.

Learn more about Illustrative Mathematics’s middle school math curriculum on their website. You can start with the demo and learn more about this robust, middle school math curriculum!

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Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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