Frequently Asked Questions

Updated September 28, 2016

This is a list of commonly asked questions we receive about our curricular resources. As we are asked more questions and come up with more answers, this list will be revised. If you have a question, and it is not answered by this page, please feel free to share your question with us by filling out this form.

  1. Do you have a paper version of your curriculum?

    We do not have a paper version of our curriculum, nor do we ever intend to have a paper version. First, a paper curriculum would be more difficult for teachers to customize. Second, it is our belief that curriculum should be enacted in ways which respond to student need; it is much more difficult to do this when everything is already sequenced and printed.


  2. Do you have scripted daily lessons?

    No. One goal of our curriculum is to support teachers making decisions in response to student thinking. We curate and develop tasks that uncover student thinking, and we use instructional routines so that teachers know how to use some of our tasks. However, the resources we provide are not entire lessons and are not scripted. We do provide a structure within teachers plan out their own decisions. We believe that teachers should respond to what students know and can do, which is inherently impossible to do when using daily scripted lessons.


  3. Why do you introduce functions before equations in both Algebra I and Algebra II?

    The focus of Algebra I and Algebra II overall is functions, so we want students to have many opportunities to re-engage with the core ideas of functions. By positioning functions earlier in the curriculum, students get these opportunities automatically. We also want students to connect what they know about functions to equations so students have tools with which to check their work (eg. graphs, tables).


  4. Where did your unit sequences come from?

    We copied our initial units and the sequence for our units from the Math Design Collaborative work led by Ann Shannon. Over time these units and the unit sequences have been revised as we learn more about  the expectations of New York State and as we developed coherent collections of Big Ideas across the three courses.


  5. What are instructional routines?

    This page describes instructional routines in some detail.


  6. What additional supports do you recommend for Emerent Bilingual and SpEd students? And why do you use the phrase 'Emergent Bilingual' anyway?

    For a detailed answer to this question, see this page. We use the phrase 'Emergent Bilingual' to describe students who are learning English as a second language to remind ourselves and others that these students have a language that they can draw on as an asset both when learning mathematics and learning a new language.


  7. What are Big Ideas?

    This page describes what Big Ideas are and includes an argument by Phil Daro which convinced us to organize our curriculum around Big Ideas and not individual lessons.


  8. Where are the weekly quizzes for formative assessment?

    Creating weekly quizzes is a low priority task for us for a couple of reasons; primarily, we have evidence that teachers can make quizzes fairly easily, so we prefer to focus on harder to make stuff, and our formative assessment work revolves around incorporating all five of Dylan Wiliam’s formative assessment strategies.

    As an alternative to setting aside instructional time for quizzes, we suggest collecting student work samples each day and analyzing them for evidence of student learning. Then, plan to use this work to re-engage students in the mathematics of the week as the “weekly quiz.” This way students can continue to learn mathematics while you simultaneously can collect data to which to respond.


  9. What about homework assignments?

    We do not currently create homework assignments as part of our curriculum. This is in part because this is work that we know teachers are able to do themselves and partly because the evidence of the impact of homework on student learning is mixed.

    There is some evidence that students benefit from interleaved practice, retrieval practice, and spacing of practice sessions and so when teachers are designing their homework assignments, they may want to take these strategies into account.


  10. Why don’t you have resources for every Big Idea yet?

    We are working on it! Writing high quality resources takes time and we have a small team. Want to help? We’d love suggestions and ideas. Feel free to email them to

    In the meantime, we recommend using a textbook, like College Preparatory Mathematics or the CME project to support planning for areas where we do not yet have resources.


  11. What direction is your curriculum going?

    Our next steps this year, and probably next, are to continue creating resources aligned to each Big Idea. We also intend to develop resources for two to three more instructional routines. Our objective is to create a curriculum that allows teachers to respond to students with meaningful instruction and useful tasks.


  12. What is the license of your curricular materials?

    Most of our resources are licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license (the fine print). Some of the resources that we link to, usually in PDF format, are licensed to third parties such as the Mathematics Assessment Project and the Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative.

    For resources we have created, you are free to:

        Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
        Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material

    Under the following terms:

        Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and
        indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but
        not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

        NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.

        ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must
        distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.