Planning a Unit

The first stage in planning to teach a Unit is becoming familiar with the key concepts and the way the Unit develops concepts, reasoning, and skills. In general, the Unit subtitle gives a broad view of the important ideas that will be developed.  For example, Moving Straight Ahead has the subtitle Linear Relationships, which identifies linear relationships as the central idea. What the title does not reveal is what aspects of linear relationships are developed and how understanding is enhanced. The following suggestions can serve as a guide for getting to know a Unit at this more detailed level.

  • Understand the mathematics and how it is being developed. In the Teachers’ Guide, read the Goals and Unit Description.
  • In A Guide to Connected Mathematics 3 or in The Math section of the web, read the overview of the mathematics in the related strand or unifying theme.
  • Read the Summary of Investigations in the teacher support and the Mathematical Reflections in the student books. These outline the development of the mathematics in the Unit.
  • Look over the Assessment Resources. They give you an idea of what students are expected to know at various points in the Unit and show the level and type of understanding students are expected to develop.
  • Work all of the Problems and ACE for each Investigation.
  • As you work on the Problems, anticipate what Mathematical Practices might surface during the Problem and how they can foster students learning.
  • Make use of the help provided in the teacher support.
  • Use the Launch, Explore, Summarize (LES) as a guide for teaching each Problem and consider using the Focus Question with your students for each Problem.
  • Keep notes on important ideas or suggestions for the next time you teach the Unit.
  • Use the Mathematical Reflections as benchmarks for your students’ understanding and as a focus for the Mathematical Practices.
  • Reevaluate where you and your students are each day. Teacher reflections are an important part in becoming a more effective teacher.
The following questions will help guide your planning of a Unit. Guidance in answering these questions can be found throughout the student book and teacher support in Goals and Standards, Mathematics Background, Unit Overview, Problem Overview, and answers.
  • What are the big mathematical ideas of this Unit?
  • What do I want students to know when this Unit is completed?
  • What mathematical vocabulary does this Unit develop?
  • What might be conceptually difficult?
  • What are important connections to other Units?
  • How might one Unit give leverage for the next?