Make Math Accessible for All!
Low Floor High Ceiling Tasks allow students at all levels of understanding to access grade-level math while developing written and spoken language. Incorporating these opportunities into day-to-day classroom operations motivates all learners to engage, explore, and extend their thinking while considering grade-level concepts and skills.

Before planning a Low Floor High Ceiling Task, the first thing I do is verify the math content used in the task reflects grade-level work. Ensuring that the content presented to students is grade-appropriate is vital so students can master the standards for their grade and find success in future courses.

Here are some resources with grade-level content and examples.

The Coherence Map from Achieve the Core is pure gold, and now it’s extended through high school math! Find grade-level standards. Then view which standards lead up to the grade-level math along with what those grade-level standards are building toward.

The Focus Documents have been a big help in planning grade-level work with my Professional Learning Community. They break down which standards are the focus of the grade-level and which standards are supporting or additional.
Illustrative Mathematics is all about making math tasks fun and relevant for learners. The tasks on their site are organized by grade-level and standards, making the site a useful resource for quality materials.
Here is a list of Low Floor High Ceiling Tasks I love. Add them to your toolkit!

Notice and Wonder: Display an intriguing image, relevant diagram, or work sample. Ask students, “What do you notice? What do you wonder?” Prompt students to jot at least two notices and wonders, then share the notes with the class. Guide the discussion toward your learning goals for the day!

Which One Doesn’t Belong? Show your students one of these collections of four images, equations, or graphs, or make your own! Ask, “Which one doesn’t belong?” Each image has a reason it doesn’t belong with the others. Having your students find why each picture is a misfit, helps build skills in problem solving, creative reasoning, and articulating math concepts.

Would You Rather Math: Present students with two choices. The learners will make a decision between the options and justify their thinking. The learners will develop and defend their rationale during this discussion.

3-Act Math: Describe or show a real-world math scenario, asking students to make predictions and estimations and adjust them as the task unfolds through three acts. Each act gives a little more information about the scenario, and learners are given the opportunity to refine and revise their estimations. There are so many sites with these tasks! Tasks by Graham Fletcher and Andrew Stadel are a great place to start!

- Morgan Stipe
Kuemper Catholic School District
Middle school math teacher and lead technology teacher

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