We want every learner in our care to be able to say

**I can use appropriate tools strategically.****
**(CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP5)

Level 4:

I can communicate details of how the chosen tools added to the solution pathway strategy using descriptive notes, words, pictures, screen shots, etc.

**Level 3:**

**I can use appropriate tools strategically.**

Level 2:

I can use tools to make my thinking visible, and I can experiment with enough tools to display confidence when explaining how I am using the selected tools appropriately and effectively.

Level 1:

I can recognize when a tool such as a protractor, ruler, tiles, patty paper, spreadsheet, computer algebra system, dynamic geometry software, calculator, graph, table, external resources, etc., will be helpful in making sense of a problem.

Suppose you are solving an equation.

Are you practicing **use appropriate tools strategically** if you use the numerical solve command on your graphing calculator?

Or what about using your calculator to substitute values of x until you find a value that makes a true statement?

Are you practicing *use appropriate tools strategically* if you use a computer algebra system to explain your steps?** **

Or what if you use the graphing capability of your handheld?

Consider each of the following learning goals:

I can explain each step in solving a simple equation as following from the equality of numbers asserted at the previous step, starting from the assumption that the original equation has a solution, and I can construct a viable argument to justify a solution method. CCSS-M A-REI.A.1.

I can solve linear equations and inequalities in one variable, including equations with coefficients represented by letters. CCSS-M A-REI.B.3.

I can explain why the x-coordinates of the points where the graphs of the equations *y*=*f *(*x*) and *y*=*g*(*x*) intersect are the solutions of the equation *f*(*x*)=*g*(*x*); find the solutions approximately, e.g., using technology to graph the functions, make tables of values, or find successive approximations. CCSS-M A-REI.D.11.

Does *use appropriate tools strategically* depend on the learner? Or the learning goal? Or the teacher? Or the availability of tools?

[Cross posted on Easing the Hurry Syndrome]

[…] focus on the journey not the destination. How will we know if appropriate tools are used strategically? What if we change our essential assessment questions from What is ____? to Show how to solve […]

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