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Headwaters Academy has adapted LearnZillion Illustrative Mathematics for middle school is a problem-based core curriculum rooted in content and practice standards to foster learning and achievement for all. Students learn by doing math, solving problems in mathematical and real-world contexts, and constructing arguments using precise language. Teachers shift their instruction and facilitate student learning with high-leverage routines that guide them in understanding and making connections between concepts and procedures. 

Lessons are designed with a focus on independent, group, and whole-class instruction. This format builds mathematical understanding and fluency for all students.  


However, because all students come to Headwaters with different math experiences and access, here's some FAQs about our math program:


How do you decide which level of math a student should be in?

Decisions about placement are multifaceted. Primarily, we look at standardized test scores and grades from previous years at Headwaters. In addition, we consider where each learner is along the path to math proficiency, specifically looking at their conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and comfort with flexible application. Other factors, such as study skills and academic responsibility, may also come into play. Decisions are ultimately made on a case by case basis in consultation with previous and current math instructors, as well as families.


How are we differentiating in a given class for students who are faster or slower than the average?


Our math curriculum has differentiation built in. Each lesson has multiple learning activities working towards the same goal. In addition, each lesson has a “are you ready for more” activity that students can complete if they finish early. Thus, learners who take longer to process new information and learners who pick up quickly on new concepts both will have those supports in place. Also, each instructor utilizes their professional expertise to tailor the curriculum for the needs of the individuals in their class. 

Will our students be ready for Algebra after 8th grade math?

Yes, the Illustrative Mathematics Middle School curriculum is designed to prepare students for success in high school Algebra. The 8th grade curriculum, on its own, is a robust pre-algebra curriculum. 

Does this method extend to more advanced math content?

Illustrative Mathematics does offer versions of their curriculum designed for high school math courses such as Algebra, Geometry and Algebra II. Some schools in our area may have adopted this curriculum, or they may be using another curriculum. However, learning math with an active learning model in middle school will give students an advantage when they take advanced math courses in high school, regardless of the specific curriculum being used for those courses. 

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