Frequently Asked Questions
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CME Project makes a conscious choice not to think of each course as a list of topics to cover, but rather as an opportunity to develop mathematical themes in different areas of mathematics. These themes provide students with insight about what it means to “think like a mathematician” and can be applied to many different (even non-mathematical) situations.
An example of one mathematical theme is invariance. Students gain experience in noticing invariants in diverse mathematical situations. They develop conjectures around their observations and then work to prove those conjectures. Eventually, whenever students encounter a new situation, they learn to look for invariants and think about possible causes for them. A document is available that discusses many more of the mathematical themes we develop and what it means to organize curriculum around these themes rather than around topics.
(download the PDF)
CME Project also uses some unique approaches to thorny content topics, from making sense of the arithmetic of signed numbers to understanding the relationship between an equation and its graph. These approaches have been developed, tested, and refined over years of classroom experience and help students come to a deeper and more robust understanding of difficult material. A document is available that outlines some of these approaches. (download the PDF)
CME Project is a student-centered and standards-based program that adheres to the traditional American course structure. Its courses follow the sequence from Algebra 1, to Geometry, Algebra 2, and then to Precalculus.
Each CME Project course is divided into chapters. Within a chapter, there will be several investigations, which are clusters of related lessons, and embedded mid-chapter and end-of-chapter assessments. A document is available that describes the design elements within each investigation and lesson.
(download the PDF)
In every CME Project course, students develop logical arguments to deepen their understanding. In Algebra 1, they use algebraic calculations to establish results about numbers, expressions, and functions. In Geometry, they study both how proofs are presented and (more importantly) how they are conceived. In more advanced courses, they use mathematical induction and combinatorial arguments. Furthermore, CME Project students use deduction and experimentation as problem-solving techniques.
For the vast majority of students, the development of technical expertise in numerical and algebraic calculation is corequisite with the development of conceptual mathematical understanding. CME Project provides students with ample practice so that they can develop the calculational fluency needed to dig into the mathematics they study.
Students in CME Project apply elementary algebra and mathematical induction to determine the monthly payment on a loan; they use complex numbers as a device for establishing trigonometric identities; they use elementary arithmetic to study methods for creating secure ciphers; and they apply Euclidean geometry to perspective drawing, optimization problems, and trigonometry. All these situations are applications of mathematics, because the emphasis is on how one uses mathematics as opposed to where one uses it.
The design of CME Project employs a “low threshold-high ceiling” approach. Each chapter starts with activities that are accessible to all students and ends with problems that will challenge the most advanced students. Abstract concepts are introduced with concrete experimentation and specific numerical examples that students extend to deeper understanding. Our goal is to provide all students with experiences where they feel competent and confident as well as experiences that are more challenging.
The Center for Mathematics Education at EDC, part of the Science and Mathematics Program, is dedicated to promoting a high quality science and mathematics education for all through research-informed improvements in curriculum, teacher education, and policy.