Frequently Asked Questions|
and where you can find answers on the site
|What is the Show-Me Project?|
|The Show-Me Project disseminates information regarding four curricula, responds to requests for information, provides support services, and technical expertise related to implementing NSF-sponsored standards-based middle grades mathematics curricula. For a more complete description go to the Show-Me Project page.|
|How is the Show-Me Project organized and who is involved?|
The Show-Me Project functions at five sites--the Show-Me Center, at the University of Missouri, Columbia (Barbara Reys, Director) and four Satellites:
The Show-Me Center coordinates all project efforts, maintains the Show-Me Web site, sponsors conferences showcasing the four standards-based curricula, and responds to requests for support either directly or by directing to the appropriate satellite. The satellites offer curriculum-specific support, including training for implementation districts. Throughout the year, they also offer numerous conferences/workshops around the country.
|What is meant by standards-based mathematics curricula?|
The phrase "standards-based mathematics curriculum" refers to curriculum, including guiding frameworks and student and teacher materials,
reflecting/enacting recommendations for mathematics curriculum and instructional practice outlined in the National Council of Teachers of
Mathematics (NCTM) Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM 2000). Standards-based mathematics programs have the following characteristics:
(Definition adapted from-- Trafton, P. R., Reys, B. J., & Wasman, D. G. (2001). Standards-based mathematics curriculum materials: A phrase in search of a definition. Phi Delta Kappan, 83 (3), 259-263. Full paper available
|Are these NSF supported mathematics materials different from other curricula? If so, how are they different?|
Yes. Each of these curricula have unique characteristics, and they differ from other mathematics curricula in those elements that characterize standards-based programs.
Among these elements are the following:
Comprehensive. Elementary mathematics programs have traditionally emphasized number skills and procedures at the expenses of other strands such as geometry, measurement, algebra and data. Secondary programs have traditionally emphasized algebra and preparation for calculus at the expense of statistics and other topics of importance to post secondary study and today's workplace. While basic computational and algebraic skills are valued, these middle school curricula provide students with problem solving experiences embedded in a wide range of mathematical topics. Opportunities to reason, to make and test conjectures are woven throughout the curricula in an effort to help students understand and apply mathematics. .
Coherent. Research has documented that middle school has historically been characterized by much repetition. Coherence demands that a mathematical topic not only be suitable for students at a grade, but that it be studied with enough intensity that it is understood and will not need to be repeated the following year. Additionally, coherence demands a plan for K-12 mathematics that provides a sequential flow, with middle school serving as a natural conduit between elementary and secondary school mathematics.
Depth. Some mathematics programs are characterized more by superficiality than by depth and intensity, with many topics treated briefly in a short time--hence the charge that the mathematics curriculum in the United States is a "mile wide and an inch deep." These NSF supported middle school mathematics curricula are characterized by involving students in rich problem solving that requires sustained effort and typically involves a range of different mathematics topics.
Sense making. Historically mathematics has not been meaningful to many students and textbooks have not been particularly helpful in bringing meaning to the forefront. A premise for these NSF supported mathematics curricula is that mathematics should make sense to students, and the materials have been developed accordingly.
Motivating. "When are we ever going to use this?" is a non-existent question with these materials. Interesting problems (usually real world) are consistently used to launch the mathematical learning. These middle school mathematics curricula reflect the belief that learning is more motivating and retention greater when the mathematics is learned within a meaningful context.
Engaging. A key feature of these mathematics curricula is the active involvement of students. Students are engaged in solving rich and interesting problems. This engagement takes different forms, but includes understanding the problems, offering and testing conjectures, discussing different solution strategies, and in general talking and writing about mathematics. These experiences contribute to increased motivation, sense making, learning, and retention.
This discussion was adapted from a position prepared by the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM Position Statement)
|Is there research evidence that guided the development of these mathematics programs?|
Yes. Each of these middle school mathematics curricula has undergone extensive field-testing at every grade level. The amount of energy and effort that accompanied
the development and research of these curricula far exceeds the commitment to research that has historically been associated with commercially developed mathematics textbooks.
Each program continues to solicit feedback from users of their materials as the writing and revising of these mathematics programs is viewed as an on-going process.
These mathematics programs were originally conceived and developed to be consistent with fundamental ideas about how mathematics is learned. Key aspects from learning theory that guided the development of these mathematics programs, include: mathematics must be meaningful; active learning provides for intellectual student engagement and results in higher levels of understanding and retention.
|Do students using these materials perform better on achievement tests?|
|There is a growing base of research documenting the impact of these curricula on student-achievement in mathematics. The studies show promising results for students using standards-based curriculum materials. In particular, students using standards-based curricula out-perform students using traditional curricula on problem solving instruments and show no significant differences on concepts and skills instruments. For a summary of research evidence click on the Curriculum Resources link and download the Show-Me Project Brief: Research on Use of Standards-Based Middle Grades Curriculum Materials, February 2003. Specific peer reviewed journals on which this evidence is based are found from the Publications link.|
|What are the similarities and differences between and among the four curricula?|
|Each curriculum has distinct features, including content sequencing and format. The best way for you to begin to identify characteristics of these curricula is to go to the Curricula Showcase feature on our homepage. This page enables you to pick a strand of mathematics, or a topic, and compare across the four curricula. In addition, you can download sample lessons and see the different approaches to a particular topic.|
|How can I find out more general information about these curricula?|
For getting the most information about these projects, it is best to attend a workshop on the curriculum. Each project hosts "new user" conferences that are several days
in length and orientate participants to specific units, as well as the broad goals of the curriculum. There are also shorter workshops throughout the year at NCTM meetings
and at other conferences. For previewing the dates of any of these upcoming workshops, click on the Conferences link.
If you know which curriculum you are interested in, select the name of the curriculum on our homepage, and your browser will take you to a page on which you can learn about scope and sequencing, sample lessons, philosophy of the project, and so on. If you are not sure which curriculum to select, click on the Curricula Showcase and you will be able to find the same information about any or all of the projects.
|Where can I see how teachers use these mathematics curricula?|
There may be some teachers near your school that you might visit. A satellite director or publisher representative may be helpful in locating a school and teachers.
There are also video tapes of actual teachers teaching their students some of the lessons. These video tapes were developed as part of the Modeling Middle School (MMM) Project. The tapes are available and portions of these tapes can be seen on the Show-Me website. To locate a video select Video Showcase. That will take you to a screen where you can choose specific videos by topic or by mathematics curricula.
|What standards-based curricula are available for elementary and secondary schools?|
|On our home page click on the feature titled, Related Projects. The first three projects listed are similar to the Show-Me Center, but each with a different grade-level focus. You can link to their sites from this page. These three sites are:|
|How can I contact the publishers of these four standards-based curricula?|
|The Publisher Contact Information is consolidated under the Satellite Contacts link off the homepage.|
|Where can I find out about professional development opportunities/workshops/conferences in my area related to these curricula?|
|Throughout the year there are workshops, conferences and showcases related to the four curriculum projects. For dates and locations, select the Conferences link. You can view all the presentations and workshops that are coming up in the next year, or you can limit the search by selecting one of the projects, or a particular state. This site is updated regularly, so check it often!|
|What upcoming conferences are the Show-Me Project sponsoring?|
Workshops for people interested in conducting research related to middle school mathematics curriculum - see
Researchers' Workshop link for information.
The Annual Show-Me Conference are held and you can use the Curriculum Showcase link for details. Show-me staff also offer workshops at many of the NCTM meetings, and other conferences. To view the upcoming conferences, go to the Conferences and select all.
|Does the Show-Me Center provide in-service opportunities for districts selecting or implementing these curricula?|
The Show-Me Center helps coordinate conferences focused on introducing the new curricula. If you are interested in developing a conference introducing two or
more of the curricula, contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
or check out the Conferences.
If you are interested in attending a workshop on a particular curriculum, contact the Curriculum Development Satellite (CMP, MiC, MATH Thematics, MathScape). They offer "new user" sessions at each of their locations, and teachers who are implementing are encouraged to attend.
|What implementation strategies have districts or schools found useful when adopting standards-based curricular materials?|
|Different models have been used for implementation and are featured in Sites & Stories. You can view a map of the United States and select districts that have implemented one of these NSF supported middle school mathematics curriculum. Their implementation strategy and some of the challenges they faced during implementation are described.|
|How can I find out if there are other schools in my area using or planning to use these materials?|
|You can view the map of implementation sites located on the web page under Sites & Stories and decide if one of these schools is near. Otherwise contact the local publisher representative for the curriculum project(s) to learn of schools in your area using a particular mathematics curriculum.|
|Where can I find scope and sequence information about these curricula?|
|Click on the Curricula Showcase link on the home page. Then select Unit Goals. Under Project select the curriculum you would like to investigate. Click Search. It will give you a sequential list of the units/modules and the process and content goals for the selected curriculum. Grade and Strand options allow you to look at a specific grade-level, follow a strand through levels, and compare information across curricula.|
|How can I get samples of these materials?|
Click on the Curricula Showcase link on the home page. To see materials from a particular mathematics program, select a specific "Project" and click on
to view actual student pages. Click on a page to see it in full view, or use the arrows to navigate through the sample lesson. You can also use the "Grade" and "Strand"
features to help search for specific types of lessons. You can also view the corresponding pages from the teacher edition by selecting Teacher Pages.
If you actually want the books in your hand, then you need to contact the local representative for the publisher that represents each curriculum project. Publisher information is available through the contact info link.
|Where can I find further information on standards-based mathematics programs?|
|Click on the Related Links for information about K-12 mathematics curricula. You can also contact the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics at www.nctm.org|
|Where do I go if I still have a question?|
|Click on the Contact Us feature at the bottom of our home page. This request goes to the Show-Me Center and is either immediately responded to by a Show-Me staff member, or is forwarded to a satellite director, or whoever can best respond to the request. You can also call the Show-Me Center at 573-884-2099.|