Math Practices








The mathematical practices are a big part of the Common Core Standards. These practices rest on important processes that are essential to mathematics: problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation, fluency, conceptual understanding and a belief that math is useful and sensible. The 8 Mathematical Practices form the backbone for building understanding in mathematics.  You could call them the heart and soul, or the key, to math.

The 8 mathematical practices are the same habits of mind for all students in grades K-12. The standards for mathematical practice can be found at


Take a look at the first four words of each of the practices and you will see “Mathematically proficient students will…”. The math practices are students’ actions or way of thinking in order to build understanding of math and become proficient in solving problems.




The math practices are not necessarily isolated objectives.  Often, students will use many of the mathematical practices simultaneously in solving a single task.

The following graphic represents a condensed version of the 8 Mathematical Practices:




Let’s take a look at some DeSoto County students using the standards for mathematical practice.

Math Practice 1- Make sense of problems & persevere in solving them. In an elementary classroom, it looks like high student engagement and persistence through challenging tasks.



Math Practice 2  – Reason abstractly & quantitatively.  Students think about numbers in many ways.



Math Practice 3– Construct viable arguments & critique the reasoning of others.  Students can explain their thinking and listen to others.



Math Practice 4– Model with mathematics. Students can show work in many ways.



Math Practice 5– Use appropriate tools strategically. Students can select appropriate math tools for the task, correctly use the tool,  and explain why they used them.



Math Practice 6– Attend to precision.  Students work carefully and check their work.



Math Practice 7– Look for & make use of structure.  Students use what they know to solve new problems.



Math Practice 8– Look for & express regularity in repeated reasoning.  It is solving problems by looking for rules and patterns.



The math practices are an integral part of the instruction and the learning process in every classroom of DeSoto County Schools.