Rich math tasks are great tools to engage students in the CCSS Standards of Mathematical Practice while building content knowledge.  They're also a wonderful formative assessment tool.

What do we mean by rich mathematics tasks?  You'll find many definitions with varying characteristics.  Here are some:

  • Accessible to all learners ("low floor, high ceiling")
  • Real life task or application
  • Multiple approaches and representations
  • Collaboration and discussion
  • Engagement, curiosity, and creativity
  • Opportunities for extension

-adapted from Heinemann at 

There are a number of resources available as sources of great, engaging mathematics tasks.

MAISA_atlas_logoMichigan-developed MAISA CCSSI Units (Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators - Common Core State Standards Initiative)

Grades:  kindergarten through high school

The MAISA project has taken the CCSS-M and CCSS-ELA standards and placed them in units of study for all grades K-11.  The mathematics units include a unit plan, a detailed model lesson from the unit, one or more formative assessment tasks, and a wealth of other resources.  The units are made available through MAISA's Atlas curriculum management software's public site.  

MARS_logoMathematics Assessment Project - from MARS (Mathematics Assessment Resources Service)

 Grades:  Mainly 6-8 and high school

See the Index of Classroom Challenges for 100 lessons in total.  See the Index of Summative Tasks for middle and high school novice, apprentice, and expert tasks.




A 1993 NSF funded mathematics assessment project, Balanced Assessment included teams from Harvard, the University of California, Michigan State University, and the University of Nottingham.  It was ahead of its time in creating tasks (rather than "problems") for students to engage in, explore, and develop and provide evidence of deep understanding.  Tasks are available at all grade levels, and have since been published by Corwin Press and by Teachers' College Press.


NRICH Mathematics Logo

NRICH - Enriching Mathematics - from the University of Cambridge

Grades:  kindergarten through high school; Select the "Teachers" menu option and choose from Early Years, Primary, or Secondary.

  Graphing Stories Logo
Graphing Stories:  Fifteen seconds at a time      A collection of short video clips illustrating various types of change for students to graph.  Not a "rich task" in itself, but the site takes the "heavy lifting" of providing suitable edited video clips for teachers to use as part of a task.
Grades:  Middle school and high school

NCSM_logoNational Council of Supervisors of Mathematics - NCSM has published a new version of its "Great Tasks for Mathematics" (original set of problems released in the 1990s).  Two books.

Grades:  K-5 ("NCSM Great Tasks for Mathematics K-5")  and 6-12 ("NCSM Great Tasks for Mathematics 6-12")



DanMeyer blog logoDan Meyer's Three-Act Math Tasks - For background on using Three-Act Mathematical Stories, read Dan's blog here.

3-Act Math Problems - Inspired by Dan Meyer.  An innovative way of approaching and enriching mathematics problems; many sites are noted in this LiveBinder.

Grades:  Mainly middle school and high school.




COMING IN SUMMER 2017 - Illustrative Mathematics to release a newly designed problem-based middle grades math curriculum and open educational resources.



MathLanding LogoMath Landing: Resources and Tools for Elementary Math Specialists and Teachers.  Grades:  K-5.  Check out the Classroom Collections.  Grouped by Standard of Mathematical Practice.




Resources to help plan for and implement these great math tasks for teaching and learning:

Thinking Through a Lesson Protocol (TTLP)

TTLP Planning Guide

The Thinking Through a Lesson Protocol

Be sure to read the original TTLP article published by NCTM:

“Thinking Through a Lesson Protocol: Successfully Implementing High-Level Tasks.” Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 14 (October 2008): 132-138.

For a number of "math in real life" resources (not necessarily rich tasks), visit Math in Daily Life from Annenberg (