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Instructional Support Networks

Math Enthusiasts Collaborative


Alexandra Thomas

Program Manager, Mathematics Curriculum and Instruction
(707) 399-4482

Mathematics Resources

collage of students of all aging having fun with math

What Is Math?

Math is more than computation, rules, and quick answer-getting. Math is full of relationships about numbers, shapes, and patterns. To succeed mathematically in the 21st century young scholars need to be able to communicate, collaborate, think critically, and be creative problem solvers.


Creating A Culture of Thinking

The National Council for Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) outlined a list of Standards for Mathematical Practices considered essential for 21st century learning in mathematics. The National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) created a companion list of Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices that engage students in sense-making, problem-solving and adaptive reasoning.

Stop Teaching Calculating, Start Learning Maths! - Conrad Wolfram
Equity in Math

Equity in mathematics begins with eliciting and understanding the unique perspectives and experiences of our diverse student population and recognizing this variability as an asset that can contribute to the learning community. In designing equitable learning experiences, we plan with a critical eye to remove and reduce barriers to access and provide flexible options that allow for student choice. Success for all requires instructional strategies centered on sense-making that empower student voice and help students develop a positive disposition about their capacity in mathematics. 

Demystifying Math

Myth: Math is about quick answer getting and being right the first time.

Math is a place for sense-making, productive struggle, perseverance, and revision. Research has demonstrated thatmistakes are valuable to the learning process.  While correct answers are important, when students come to see them as the primary goal of their work in math class, they strive to avoid and cover up mistakes, considering them to be an indication of deficiency, rather than a moment of academic stretching and learning. 

Myth: Students cannot progress to deeper problem solving before first mastering the basics. 

Consistently using tasks that promote reasoning and problem-solving can help students strengthen their basic facts in two ways. Building fluency and number-sense result from varied problem-solving opportunities that allow students to use their knowledge flexibly and to make connections between multiple strategies and representations. Building procedural fluency from conceptual understanding develops multiple pathways in the brain for accessing information.

Myth: The best way to learn is to memorize and practice step-by-step procedures.

In education, when we say memorization we are usually referring to flash cards or rote repetition which can be good for recalling knowledge or facts that have already been learned or for temporary retention, but it is not effective for learning something new. California Common Core State Standards develop and progress across grade levels, so that students can build and extend new understanding on foundations established in learning from previous years. 

More Math Myths