A special focus emphasizes the development of critical and creative thinking skills in problem solving. During the initial development, content experts reviewed the units to establish content validity. The curriculum was revised accordingly and then field tested with further refinements as needed before final publication. The curriculum design follows the tenets of The Multiple Menu Model: A Practical Guide for Developing Differentiated Curriculum (Renzulli, Leppien, & Hays, 2000) and The Parallel Curriculum, A Design to Develop High Potential and Challenge High-Ability Learners (Tomlinson, Kaplan, Renzulli, Purcell, Leppien, & Burns, 2009) published by the National Association of Gifted Children. This model adheres to the belief that “most, if not all, learners should work consistently with concept-focused curriculum, tasks that call for complex thinking, and products that ask students to demonstrate and use what they learned in meaningful ways” (Tomlinson et al., 2009, p.12).
We used this model as the basis for the design of our curriculum, focusing on the Core Curriculum with the Big Ideas of Mathematics in each unit and the Curriculum of Practice, an outgrowth of the Multiple Menu Model. Using the Multiple Menu Model, we help students assume the role of mathematicians as they develop critical and creative thinking skills in solving real problems. Projects are included in the units and used as a way for students to apply what they have learned in relevant settings and pursue some of their own interests.
This combination of the CCSS Content Standards and Mathematical Practices, an increase in depth and complexity, and best practices in the field of gifted and talented curriculum development create the type of mathematics that is both truly challenging and enjoyable for talented math students. Details on the content of the units can be found in the For Teachers section of this website.