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Why Quick Practice is the Right Answer for Inquiry-Based Math

Why Quick Practice is the Right Answer for Inquiry-Based Math

Elevating learning in math classrooms, implementing quick practice activities daily offers engaging routines before beginning instruction gets students warmed up and ready to learn.


Quick Practice is a crucial component of an effective mathematics classroom, according to research. Findings show it impacts math learning and teaching by helping students develop deep conceptual understanding while they practice, apply, and discuss what they know with skill and confidence.


Driving Engagement

Quick Practice activities begin each lesson to provide opportunities for students to call to mind their prior understanding of a topic that has already been discussed in class or to begin to build prerequisite skills for a topic that is to come later.

Teachers report that Quick Practice time provides an engaging start for math class and nurtures a safe learning environment where students feel free to take risks, share ideas, and lead activities. 

Most teachers begin with volunteers as leaders, and often request two volunteers to lead a Quick Practice together. Gradually, as more students become familiar with the structure, even shy students will volunteer to lead a Quick Practice session.

Quick Practice routines focus on vitally important skills and concepts that can be practiced in a whole-class activity with immediate feedback.


Quick Practice is one of five research-based components that are the organizational touchstones of the Math Expressions program. These Five Core Structures also include Building Concepts, Math Talk, Student Leaders, and Helping Community.

These structures are not static. They are interactive. They work together and support one another. The research project that spearheaded its development found that using the Five Core Structures in the classroom enables children from all backgrounds to learn mathematics with understanding, fluency, and confidence.

With over ten years of development and funding from the National Science Foundation, Math Expressions is a research-based Kindergarten–Grade 6 elementary mathematics program. Its inquiry-based approach drives active instruction, student engagement, and proven results.

To learn how Math Expressions helps schools build confidence and elevate learning to ensure sense-making in math, download the program overview for more on what’s included.

Topics: Mathematics, Math, Math@Heinemann, Heinemann Math, Math Expressions, Teaching Math, Quick Practice

Date Published: 06/14/23

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