Rich math tasks are great tools to engage students in the CCSS Standards of Mathematical Practice while building content knowledge.  They're also a wonderful formative assessment tool.

What do we mean by rich mathematics tasks?  You'll find many definitions with varying characteristics.  Here are some:

  • Accessible to all learners ("low floor, high ceiling")
  • Real life task or application
  • Multiple approaches and representations
  • Collaboration and discussion
  • Engagement, curiosity, and creativity
  • Making connections within and/or across topics and domains [Boaler, "Mathematical Mindsets"]
  • Opportunities for extension

-adapted from Heinemann at http://www.heinemann.com/blog/6-characteristics-rich-math-tasks/ 

There are a number of resources available as sources of great, engaging mathematics tasks.

MAISA_atlas_logoMichigan-developed MAISA CCSSI Units (Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators - Common Core State Standards Initiative)

Grades:  kindergarten through high school

The MAISA project has taken the CCSS-M and CCSS-ELA standards and placed them in units of study for all grades K-11.  The mathematics units include a unit plan, a detailed model lesson from the unit, one or more formative assessment tasks, and a wealth of other resources.  The units are made available through MAISA's Atlas curriculum management software's public site.  

YouCubedDotOrgLogo

 

Jo Boaler and her youcubed team at Stanford University have created and gathered a number of tasks across all grade levels.  Since fall 2015, the team has also created a "Week of Inspirational Math" with the idea of kicking off the school year with highly engaging rich mathematics tasks. 

Grades:  kindergarten through high school

 

MARS_logoMathematics Assessment Project - from MARS (Mathematics Assessment Resources Service)

 Grades:  Mainly 6-8 and high school

See the Index of Classroom Challenges for 100 lessons in total.  See the Index of Summative Tasks for middle and high school novice, apprentice, and expert tasks.

 

BalancedAssessmentLogo

 

A 1993 NSF funded mathematics assessment project, Balanced Assessment included teams from Harvard, the University of California, Michigan State University, and the University of Nottingham.  It was ahead of its time in creating tasks (rather than "problems") for students to engage in, explore, and develop and provide evidence of deep understanding.  Tasks are available at all grade levels, and have since been published by Corwin Press and by Teachers' College Press.

Grades:  kindergarten through high school

 

NRICH Mathematics Logo

NRICH - Enriching Mathematics - from the University of Cambridge

Grades:  kindergarten through high school; Select the "Teachers" menu option and choose from Early Years, Primary, or Secondary.

  Graphing Stories Logo
Graphing Stories:  Fifteen seconds at a time      A collection of short video clips illustrating various types of change for students to graph.  Not a "rich task" in itself, but the site takes the "heavy lifting" of providing suitable edited video clips for teachers to use as part of a task.  

Grades:  Middle school and high school

101Questions Logo

 101 Questions provides a wealth of photos and video clips to inspire asking great mathematical and statistical questions.  These graphics can help kick off a rich investigation.

Grades:  mainly middle and high school; some suitable for upper elementary.

 

NCSM_logoNational Council of Supervisors of Mathematics - NCSM has published a new version of its "Great Tasks for Mathematics" (original set of problems released in the 1990s).  Two books.

Grades:  K-5 ("NCSM Great Tasks for Mathematics K-5")  and 6-12 ("NCSM Great Tasks for Mathematics 6-12")

 

 

DanMeyer blog logoDan Meyer's Three-Act Math Tasks - For background on using Three-Act Mathematical Stories, read Dan's blog here.

3-Act Math Problems - Inspired by Dan Meyer.  An innovative way of approaching and enriching mathematics problems; many sites are noted in this LiveBinder.

Grades:  Mainly middle school and high school.

 

Mathalicious Logo

(Fee-based)  Mathalicious has a number of tasks tagged to standards.  They have now organized some tasks into units to assist teachers with embedding rich tasks into lessons throughout the course.

Grade levels:  Grade 6 through High School

 

PBS Learning Media Logo

PBS provides over 1900 math-related items to spark ideas for rich tasks.  Most of the entries here are not fully-developed tasks, but inspirations or launches for tasks.  Use the filter provided to explore what's available for your grade(s).

Grade levels:  Pre-K through High school

 

 

Illustrative_Mathematics_logo

COMING IN SUMMER 2017 - Illustrative Mathematics to release a newly designed problem-based middle grades math curriculum and open educational resources.

 

 

MathLanding LogoMath Landing: Resources and Tools for Elementary Math Specialists and Teachers.  Grades:  K-5.  Check out the Classroom Collections.  Grouped by Standard of Mathematical Practice.

 

 

Estimation180 Logo

Estimation 180 provides photos which teachers can use a prompts for estimating and developing number sense.  Many of these photos could serve as prompts for Number Talks or Math Talks.  The site provides lessons, other activities, and other resources.

Grade Levels:  kindergarten through high school

 

EastMidlands LogoEast Midlands (U.K.) Math Tasks - A collection of tasks along with teacher guides.

Grade levels:  kindergarten through high school

 

North Carolina PS Logo

 

 North  Carolina has developed a number of tasks as part of their Department of Education curriculum support.  They are posted by grade level. Look under the "Compiled Documents".

Click on the grade level to visit:  

kindergarten      1st grade     2nd grade
K-2 Formative Tasks Overview

3rd grade      4th grade      5th grade      
Grades 3-5 Formative Tasks Overview

6th grade       7th grade      8th grade     
Grades 6-8 Middle Grades Overview

North Carolina High School Resources - "Math Resources for Instruction" documents provide or link a suggested task for each standard.  Look in the purple "Instructional Resources" box of the table. 

 

nzmaths Logo

Rich learning tasks from New Zealand.  See also their "Counting Collections" resources.

Grade levels:  kindergarten through high school (listed on-line in New Zealand grade bands)

 

 

Resources to help plan for and implement these great math tasks for teaching and learning:

Thinking Through a Lesson Protocol (TTLP)

TTLP Planning Guide

The Thinking Through a Lesson Protocol

Be sure to read the original TTLP article published by NCTM:

“Thinking Through a Lesson Protocol: Successfully Implementing High-Level Tasks.” Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 14 (October 2008): 132-138.

For a number of "math in real life" resources (not necessarily rich tasks), visit Math in Daily Life from Annenberg (Learner.org)