What Is Connected Math?

Is your child's school using Connected Math? Are you unsure what this really means? Below is an overview of the Connected Math program and how this mathematical program is likely taught in your child's classroom.

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An Overview of Connected Math

The Connected Mathematics Project is a program that was created at Michigan State University. This problem-centered curriculum was designed for students in grades 6-8. Through the use of extensive problem sets, students are led to make connections between a variety of math concepts, between math and the real world and between math and other subject areas. While covering topics such as algebra, probability and statistics, measurement, geometry and numbers, students are encouraged to practice, apply, connect and extend mathematical relationships.

How Connected Math Is Taught

Within Connected Math, important concepts are organized into units. Each unit contains specific goals, called Mathematical Highlights. Your child can use these highlights to track his or her success and progress through a unit.

Each unit contains investigations, applications, extensions, reflections and projects. Investigations, which consist of 2-5 sequenced problems, make up the majority of a Connected Math unit. Each investigation problem is intended to help students develop mathematical reasoning, problem-solving skills and an understanding of the concept being taught.

The next phase, applications, serves to reiterate the ideas and strategies that were studied during the investigation part of the lesson. The applications phase is intended to be homework for the student and will require him or her to connect newly learned concepts to previous knowledge.

The extensions portion provides mathematical challenges that will allow your child to work beyond what has been taught in the classroom lesson. The reflections phase helps children reflect on what has been learned during the unit. Unit projects allow your child to use more than one mathematical concept in a given scenario. Within a grade level, approximately four units will have projects included.

At the conclusion of a unit, your child will solve problems in the looking back and looking ahead section. This review section will have your child connecting concepts across several units. He or she will also have to provide explanations of mathematical reasoning and demonstrate an understanding of math. In Connected Math, calculators should be made available for students to use when appropriate and manipulatives are only used when a concept is being developed.

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