Mathematical Critical Areas-
Learning Progressions Overview
Understand that the critical areas describe key
mathematical concepts for students to learn
at each grade level.
Identify that the critical areas are designed to
bring focus to the standards at each grade
Consider how the critical areas can be used to
inform curriculum and guide instruction.
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Grade PK K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
focusing on # of
2 2 4 4 4 3 3 4 4 3
specific Critical Areas
teaching and Course Alg I Geo Alg II Math I Math II Math III
# of 4 6 4 6 5 4
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For each grade
8, the Critical
ideas for each
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In Kindergarten, instructional time should focus on two
(1) representing and comparing whole numbers, initially with
sets of objects; (2) describing shapes and space.
More learning time in Kindergarten should be devoted to
number than to other topics.
1. Students use numbers, including written numerals, to
represent quantities and to solve quantitative problems, such
as counting objects in a set; counting out a given number of
objects; comparing sets or numerals; and modeling simple
joining and separating situations with sets of objects, or
eventually with equations such as 5 + 2 = 7 and 7 – 2 = 5. …
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◦Read about Critical Areas for your
grade level or course.
◦Record the Critical Areas on an
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◦ Create a poster: use words and/or pictures
to describe the focus for your grade level or
◦ Study the posters to discover if the areas are
at the current grade level/course at a new
grade-level/course, or dropped from the
◦ Look at the K-12 progression of learning
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Place your “Big Ideas” sticky notes on the
corresponding Critical Area poster.
Discuss your findings in grade-band groups (K-
2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12)
◦ what you keep
◦ what you add
◦ what you move or drop
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Report from each grade level on biggest idea
for the grade.
How do the mathematical concepts build from
grade to grade?
Compare the concepts in the critical areas
with those that you are currently teaching.
How are they similar?
How are they different?
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Read each content standard, marking the recording sheet
√ when a standard strongly matches your Critical
? when you are not sure
Did every standard fall within a Critical Area?
Are there standards that fall within more than one
Do all the standards within a cluster fall within the same
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How do the critical areas help to bring
focus to the standards at your grade
How will you use the critical areas to
inform your curriculum and guide your
What questions do you still have about
the critical areas?
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Mathematics Curriculum Specialist
(406) 444-0706; email@example.com
ELA Curriculum Specialist
(406) 444-0729; firstname.lastname@example.org
State Assessment Director
(406) 444-3656; email@example.com
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