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Professional Development

Math Pathways & Pitfalls Implementation Modules Institute: Boost K–8 Student Mathematics Understanding and Achievement

Increase K–8 students’ — including English learners’ — mathematical understanding and their ability to articulate that understanding. Participate in our institute, where you will learn to implement Math Pathways & Pitfalls (MPP) research-based principles with both MPP lessons and your own textbook lessons.

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What You Will Learn

Math Pathways & Pitfall’s (MPP’s) five implementation modules will lead teachers through key foundational MPP principles:

  • Building Mathematical Discussions
  • Making Sense
  • Confronting Pitfalls
  • Visualizing and Connecting
  • Capturing Key Ideas

Each module, detailed below, will show how its corresponding principle is integrated into each MPP lesson, and how to incorporate the teaching practices into any math lesson.

Each module is offered as a one-day institute. Teachers may participate in all 5, or any combination, of the institutes. Note: Module 1 is a prerequisite module for modules 2–5.

Module 1: Building Mathematical Discussions*

  • Learn ways to foster productive discussions in classrooms with diverse learners
  • Increase student-to-student-focused interaction and agency
  • Ensure English learners engage in equally rigorous ways as students fluent in English

* Includes book with Discussion Builders poster

Module 2: Making Sense

  • Learn how to help students make sense of both a problem and possible solution processes
  • Learn how to help your students persevere
  • Identify which problems lend themselves to sense-making and perseverance
  • Identify what your role is and how to prepare for that role

The above will be addressed through modeling, video examples, and problems from both MPP lessons and traditional textbook lessons.

Module 3: Confronting Pitfalls

  • Learn about research that shows using contrasting examples and non-routine representations increase student understanding
  • Learn how to use student misconceptions and errors as springboards for inquiry and discussion, while encouraging intellectual risk taking

Examples from MPP lessons are used, and teachers are led through ways to use problems from their own curricula as a way to confront pitfalls.

Module 4: Visualizing and Connecting

  • Learn how to help students use visual representations as a way to both understand mathematical ideas and show their understanding

Making connections across representational forms — for example, visual, symbolic — in words is essential to developing a robust understanding of mathematics that is more resistant to pitfalls.

Module 5: Capturing Key Ideas

  • Learn how to put it all together
  • Learn how to orchestrate a discussion so that you have enough ideas, but not too many
  • Ensure your students walk away with essential understandings
  • Find out best approaches to keeping track of it all

This module is ideal for teachers who want to learn how discussions can work to further understanding.

Who Will Benefit

  • K–8 Teachers, including teachers
    of English language learners

Service Details

Module Format

Each module is a one-day institute/workshop either on site or at WestEd’s Oakland, CA, office.

What’s Included*

  • Module 1 includes a Math Pathways & Pitfalls book with lessons and teaching guides at your grade band. Book includes a Discussion Builders poster, pre-post assessment items, and DVD for teachers and students.
  • Modules 2–5 use materials from Module 1, as well as teachers’ own textbook materials, to develop comprehensive lesson models for use in the classroom.
  • All modules include a binder and all slides used during the institute.

* All MPP materials that participants receive are appropriate for students at any level of mathematics proficiency, and have been proven effective with ELL students. Visit the MPP Research Findings page to learn more.


Each module is a one-day institute. Individuals or sites may sign up for or request 1 module, all 5, or a combination. Module 1 is a prerequisite for all subsequent modules.

On-Site Institute

Module 1: $4,000 per day for up to 35 participants at your site, plus $165 materials fee per person.

Modules 2–5: $4,000 per day for up to 35 participants at your site.

WestEd Location (Oakland, CA)

$350 per person for Module 1; add $165 per person for materials fee.

Learn More

To learn more, please contact Jose Franco at and/or visit the MPP website.