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Table of Contents

Unit 2: Activity 1: Definitions, Video and Reflection:
K–8 Mathematics Domains

Unit 2 Activity 1 is titled, “Definitions, Video and
Reflection: K–8 Mathematics Domains” and will take
approximately 30 minutes to complete.

The purpose of this activity is for the participant to define
and explain how domains are organized in relation to standards
and clusters, and to build on the understanding of how domains
are related to Learning Progressions.

To understand how domains are organized in relation to the standards and clusters, first review the definitions of each and view how they are placed in association with one another on the graphic below.

Below are the categorical areas of the CCSS for Mathematics.

  • Standards define what students should understand and be able to do.
  • Clusters are groups of related standards (note that standards from different clusters may be closely related because mathematics is a connected subject).
  • Domains are larger groups of related standards. Standards from different domains may sometimes be closely related.

The graphic below indicates the location of a domain, a standard, and a cluster.

Structure of the standards.

Time to Read

Read the following excerpt from page 5 of the Common Core State Standards for MathematicsExternal Link

These Standards do not dictate curriculum or teaching methods. For example, just because topic A appears before topic B in the standards for a given grade, it does not necessarily mean that topic A must be taught before topic B. A teacher might prefer to teach topic B before topic A, or might choose to highlight connections by teaching topic A and topic B at the same time. Or, a teacher might prefer to teach a topic of his or her own choosing that leads, as a byproduct, to students reaching the standards for topics A and B.

What students can learn at any particular grade level depends upon what they have learned before. Ideally then, each standard in this document might have been phrased in the form, “Students who already know ... should next come to learn ....” But at present this approach is unrealistic—not least because existing education research cannot specify all such learning pathways. Of necessity therefore, grade placements for specific topics have been made on the basis of state and international comparisons and the collective experience and collective professional judgment of educators, researchers and mathematicians. One promise of common state standards is that over time they will allow research on learning progressions to inform and improve the design of standards to a much greater extent than is possible today. Learning opportunities will continue to vary across schools and school systems, and educators should make every effort to meet the needs of individual students based on their current understanding.

These Standards are not intended to be new names for old ways of doing business. They are a call to take the next step. It is time for states to work together to build on lessons learned from two decades of standards based reforms. It is time to recognize that standards are not just promises to our children, but promises we intend to keep.”

— Common Core State Standards Initiative External Link