When designers set out to create a mathematics learning activity, they have a fair sense of its objectives: students will understand a concept and master relevant procedural skills. In reform-oriented activities, students first engage in concrete situations, wherein they achieve situated, intermediary learning objectives (SILOs), and only then they rearticulate their solutions formally. We define SILOs as heuristics learners devise to accommodate contingencies in an evolving problem space, e.g., monitoring and repairing manipulable structures so that they model with fidelity a source situation. Students achieve SILOs through problem-solving with media, instructors orient toward SILOs via discursive solicitation, and designers articulate SILOs via analyzing implementation data. We describe the emergence of three SILOs in developing the activity Giant Steps for Algebra. Whereas the notion of SILOs emerged spontaneously as a framework to organize a system of practice, i.e. our collaborative design, it aligns with phenomenological theory of knowledge as instrumented action.