The Sixth Grade Curriculum
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Connected Mathematics Project (CMP) relies on the power of connections. When students make connections between the CMP lessons and their own experiences, learned skills find a more permanent place in their minds. The lessons in the CMP curriculum are student centered investigations that aim to involve all students in the experience of problem solving. As students explore modern problems of a variety of natures, they learn to apply mathematical tools that were once taught only as basic skills. We believe that the students will have an easier time remembering what they learn since they develop mathematical concepts and skills through their own personal experiences with the interesting CMP problems.
In addition to the connections that CMP makes to real world problem solving, the curriculum also takes advantage of connections between the units taught. Students continually encounter situations where they can apply their newly learned skills. For example, the concepts of area and perimeter may be emphasized in one unit but then used again to solve problems in subsequent units and in the advancing grade levels. In this way, skills are reinforced throughout the entire middle school program.
A third type of connection that can strengthen the effectiveness of the CMP implementation is an interdisciplinary connection that can be fostered throughout the school. Many of the topics, skills, and problems explored by students in the CMP curriculum may be encountered in subject areas other than Mathematics. When teachers in the school district are aware of these connections, their lessons can be utilized to reinforce learning in an interdisciplinary way. Science teachers, for example, can expect students to identify variables in a data set and discuss basic statistics such as mean, mode, median, and range. Social Studies teachers can ask students to compare populations using graphs or tables. Language Arts teachers can help students develop and write convincing arguments in the same way they are required to defend their solutions to CMP mathematics problems.
These three types of connections make the CMP curriculum an exciting and interesting alternative to other Mathematics education programs. The following section will describe the first step of implementing this program in the Quakertown Middle Schools.
The Quakertown School District began implementing CMP in the Sixth Grade in the 2000-2001 school year. The students will have covered five of the modules in the program by the end of this first year. The seventh grade teachers should, therefore, expect the students to have a working knowledge of the topics taught in these modules in the year 2001-2002. Each additional year of Connected Mathematics instruction that the students receive will also help to reinforce the students' skills as they repeatedly encounter the topics in the seventh and eighth grade books.
Students learn about Number Theory; prime numbers, composite numbers, factors and multiples.
Students perform investigations involving data. They formulate questions, gather data, organize and analyze data and make decisions based on data.
Students reason about shapes and shape properties including angle measures.
Students build an understanding of rational numbers in the forms of fractions, decimals, and percents.
Students explore problems involving measurement. They work specifically with the concepts of Area and Perimeter.
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