The Important Mathematics and Powerful Pedagogy (IMAPP) project is a 3-year Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) funded by the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Board of Regents. IMAPP uses a lesson study approach (LSA) to help teachers gain expertise in developing and teaching lessons that are focused on important mathematics, making that important mathematics explicit, helping students engage meaningfully with that important mathematics, and maintaining and supporting students’ productive struggles with that important mathematics. Regarding powerful pedagogy, teaching through problem-based instructional tasks & Teaching through Problem Solving are key research-based instructional strategies central to IMAPP.

In summer mathematics content institutes, teachers learn important mathematics of school mathematics curricula and standards as encapsulated in the Iowa Core Curriculum (ICC), NCTM (2000), TIMSS, Achieve, the College Board and others. However, IMAPP draws primarily from the ICC. The summer mathematics content institutes treat the mathematics of school mathematics proximal to the practices of teaching and also from advanced perspectives.

In summer pedagogy institutes, teachers learn and apply a LSA adapted from Lesson Study models imported from Japan. Target lessons are developed, one of which is taught (to high school students) and observed, debriefed with observers and students, and revised. During the academic year, target lessons undergo refinements, are taught and observed, debriefed, revised, and re-taught. The LSA cycle are repeated so that teachers develop the habits of deeply reflective and effective teaching.