As mentioned in the first of this series, a question that naturally arises is: What do the curriculum focal points have to do with the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics? The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics answers that identifying areas of emphasis at each grade level is the next step in implementing the principles and standards. Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten Through Grade 8 “provides one possible response to the question of how to organize curriculum standards within a coherent, focused curriculum, by showing how to build on important mathematical content and connections identified for each grade level, pre-K–8” (NCTM, 2006, p. 12).
The Curriculum Focal Points draw on the content standards described in the Principles and Standards, at times clustering several topics in one focal point. At each grade level, the Council reiterates that the process standards are pivotal to well-grounded instruction, for, according to the Curriculum Focal Points for Grade 6, “it is essential that these focal points be addressed in contexts that promote problem solving, reasoning, communication, making connections, and designing and analyzing representations."
This Middle School Portal publication offers resources intended to support you in teaching the key mathematical areas identified for grade 6. In particular, we aimed to provide visual and interactive models for the multiplication and division of fractions, lesson ideas and problems for introducing ratio and rate through whole number operations, and innovative approaches to early work with algebra. Our focus throughout has been on students’ understanding of the concepts underpinning standard procedures in arithmetic and algebra as well as providing problems that would engage a sixth grader.
A description of the Curriculum Focal Points for grade 6 is found at http://www.nctm.org/standards/focalpoints.aspx?id=336&ekmensel=c580fa7b_10_52_336_8
Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten Through Grade 8: A Quest for Coherence may be viewed in its entirety at http://www.nctm.org/standards/content.aspx?id=270
Author and Copyright
Terry Herrera taught math several years at middle and high school levels, then earned a Ph.D. in mathematics education. She is a resource specialist for the Middle School Portal 2: Math & Science Pathways project.
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Copyright April 2008 - The Ohio State University. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0424671 and since September 1, 2009 Grant No. 0840824. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.