According to Common Core, instructional time should be spilt between four areas:

- Connecting ratio and rate to whole number multiplication and division and using concepts of ratio and rate to solve problems;
- Completing understanding of division of fractions and extending the notion of number to the system of rational numbers, which includes negative numbers;
- Writing, interpreting, and using expressions and equations; and
- Developing understanding of statistical thinking.

In 6th grade, students will learn to:

- describe and summarize numerical data sets
- identify clusters, peaks, gaps, and symmetry
- consider the context of collected data

They will also be building on their work with area in elementary school, teaching them the basic information to prepare them for 7th grade math, where they will work with scale drawings and constructions.

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Interesting that in 6th grade they are already expected to be learning algebra with expressions and equations. Statistics seems to have a greater role in the new CCSS. Understanding rate through fractions is critical as they will dive into rate of change in 7th and 8th grades. Do you think these CCSS are reasonable for 6th grade students?

I think they’re reasonable to a point. Right now they seem complex and hard for 6th grade, but when I went back to see what students should have learned in 4th and 5th grade, it makes more sense. I think as we move more into Common Core, each new level will build and seem more reasonable. The way it seems to me is that we’re breaking up the basics of algebra and building students’ skills, so when finally introduce them to algebra, it isn’t as much of a transition later on.

I thought it was interesting that they would be starting with algebraic expressions and using equations. Also, even my high school students hate fractions and are not that good with them. They try to avoid them as much as possible. And even if these are not reasonable (which I’m not sure they are for all 6th graders), our schools just move students along, (especially in middle school) so each level gets harder for students because they didn’t actually learn the previous expectations.