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Exploring content expectations in a middle school math unit

Suppose that you were teaching the Pythagorean Theorem in an 8th-grade Mathematics course. The benchmark that you would be addressing would read something like this:

Understand at least one proof of the Pythagorean Theorem and use the theorem and its converse to solve applied problems including perimeter and area problems

Using the ASSIST format, you might break down that benchmark like this:

What students need to remember to meet this benchmark

What they need to do

What they need to understand

The formula for the Pythagorean theorem:     a2 + b2 = c2

Demonstrate how the sum of the areas of the squares on the legs equals the area of the square on the hypotenuse

Explain how to solve various application problems using the Pythagorean Theorem

How to draw a right triangle and label the sides a, b and c

Find the length of a side of a right triangle given the length of the other two sides

Explain at least one proof of the Pythagorean Theorem


Given three side lengths, determine if they can form a right triangle



Find the perimeter and area of a triangle by finding the side lengths of overlapping triangles using the Pythagorean Theorem


Now choose one of your units and try making a similar chart for it.