Instructional Routines

What is an instructional routine?



Start problem-solving without the problem. Leave off the question, give students a math situation, graph or image and ask them: "What do you notice? What do you wonder?" 

Visual Patterns are a great way to utilize patterns to encourage making use of structure in problem-solving. Students make observations and build on those observations to generalizations.

Visual Patterns is a collection of hundreds of visual patterns gathered by Fawn Nguyen. There are patterns that can be used to explore linear function, quadratic functions, cubic functions, 

For some ideas about how to use visual patterns with adult students, including handouts and a lesson plan, read Developing Algebraic Reasoning Through Visual Patterns

Here are the first 3 steps of a visual pattern.

What comes next?

Estimation 180

Estimation 180 is a collection of engaging photos and short videos developed by Andrew Stadel. The visuals are used as estimation challenges (like the one to the right) that help students develop their number sense through reasoning, multiple estimation strategies, explaining their ideas, connecting to different math content, and reflecting on the process. 

To learn more about using Estimation 180 with adult education students:

Order the glasses from least to greatest

Which One Doesn't Belong?

With this instructional routine, teachers present four of something (like the 4 numbers to the right) and ask students to come up with reasons why each doesn't belong. 

The website Which One Doesn't Belong? (WODB) is a collection of Numbers, Shapes, and Graphs to explore, curated by Mary Bourassa, inspired by the book Which One Doesn't Belong by Christopher Danielson. Start there or create your own! 

You can find ideas on how to use WODB with adult students: Learning Through Classification

What makes each of these numbers different from the other three?


Splat! is an interactive number sense strategy that is accessible to all students, that can be used to develop a visual approach to solving equations. The materials and routine were developed by Steven Wyborney

For more ideas on using SPLAT! with adult students, watch Some Numbers Walk into a Language Class: Splat!

There are 22 dots total.

How many are under each Splat?