Several bloggers I have discovered through posts about parenting (although they blog about many other things as well) and greatly respect have had a lot to say lately about the Investigations math series. Their comments have not been positive.
This has got me thinking about my evolution as a teacher of math. When I began teaching eleven years ago my school had a very traditional math textbook (I don't remember which one) and I used it for a year or two. But I quickly became frustrated with it. I began pulling together any and all resources I could find and taught based on my state and county standards rather than working our way straight through a textbook. After about a year my teammates were doing the same thing and it became a lot easier as we all collaborated to create lessons and assessments that were appropriate and effective.
After a few years of this my school adopted Everyday Mathematics. It took some time to adjust to having a textbook and to how different this series was from the traditional textbooks. I was so impressed with Everyday Mathematics. It helped me gain a much deeper understanding of math. However, a few years later I participated in some professional development in math with a fabulous consultant who continually referred to the Investigations series. I started doing some research into it and got really excited. One of our math coaches was familiar with it and ordered me a set.
I've used Investigations with a general education fifth grade, a gifted and talented fifth grade, and with my first graders this year. I don't believe it is a perfect series, but I don't think such a thing exists. I do believe that Investigations assists students in building deeper understandings of the math they are studying. Having worked with three different math series I believe that Investigations is the most challenging for students and teachers.
I know there is a lot of passion about the teaching of math, more than just about any other subject matter, but I'm still surprised by how strongly people feel against this specific series. I'd love to hear more about the reasons for this.