Stonehurst STEAM Magnet Elementary School

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Cognitively Guided Instruction

Vincent van Gogh once said, "I dream of painting and then I paint my dream."

Well we dream of learning and then I learn to dream! Here students are identifying the math within the famous art piece. This activity, “What Do You Notice,” presents activity practice of CGI.


Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) stems from UCLA Mathematics Project. It is based on more than 30 years of research that has investigated the development of children's mathematical thinking, classroom instruction that supports that development, and professional development that fosters instruction on building individualized student thinking. CGI is an inquiry-based learning, which provides the opportunity for students to solve math problems with their intuitive knowledge. Simply put, it moves towards solving real-world problems and experiences!


We currently work with UCLA Mathematics Project and practice upon these successful practices. In our classrooms, we practice CGI and the kiddos are loving it! The math problems at times are quite rigorous, but using their personal strategies and knowledge, students are able to successfully work towards solving problems!


There are so many beautiful learning opportunities with CGI in the classroom. One of our favorite aspects of CGI is that it does not limit student thinking, but it allows for students to grow upon their own strategies.


There are many activities within CGI that target:

  • how children solve problems using their intuitive understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and base-ten number concepts
  • the development of children's mathematical thinking
  • instruction that promotes children's engagement in essential mathematical practices
  • connections between children's strategies and powerful mathematical properties and concepts


The number sense routines within CGI are engaging and promote students' thinking. Another activity we enjoy is identified as, "How Many Ways." This next activity presents the opportunity to identify the many different ways to make a specific number. Within the activity, diverse ideas and ways to make a number are exposed. Other activities include presenting "Unpacking" story word problems, Number Talks, "Which One Doesn't Belong," etc.


As simple as these activities may be, all activities practice and work towards the Common Core State Standards and support students in the Mathematical Practices.