The Math Trailblazers Classroom
A Math Trailblazers classroom is filled with excitement, discovery, and engaged students. Students are actively involved in the work of real-world mathematicians, working both independently and collaboratively as they model mathematics, reason abstractly and quantitatively, make connections among representations, invent and test strategies, use patterns, check for reasonableness, and persevere to solve problems. Lessons in a Math Trailblazers classroom are elegantly engineered. The structure gives students the opportunity to reveal what they know and what they need, and guides teachers to observe students’ learning, understanding, and misconceptions. The problems are fun, memorable, and worth solving with real context that interests children. Students share ideas, communicate about solutions and strategies, apply the math they know to solve problems, practice skills and procedures, and critique and revise work. Math Trailblazers students are using tools such as manipulatives, pencil and paper, concrete models, rulers, protractors, calculators, and balances to solve complex problems. As mathematical ideas are represented with manipulatives, pictures, tables, graphs, and numbers, students are able to access the mathematics in varied ways. The contexts for solving problems help the students in a Math Trailblazers classroom learn to use mathematics in meaningful ways, and the activities provide them with the thinking and problem-solving skill and math proficiency they will need for success in the 21st century.