MIAA 350 Math Articles

Christina L Hambleton

Less is More
Rong-Ji chen

 Provide

less guidance to students and
engage them in challenging mathematical
 Making

math “easy” by explaining every detail
and exact procedural directions can hinder
students ability to learn in-depth mathematical
 By

doing so, students use minimal cognitive thinking
skills. Requires no effort on their part.

Giving Too Much Information

Teacher’s Lesson on investigating the relationship between diameter & circumference
with the object being to learn concepts of pi & how to calculate & estimate its value

Students were given the following instructions:

Measure diameter & circumference of each object

Fill in data in prepared chart

Calculate circumference-to-diameter ratios

Make a scatter plot of the data

Giving Too Much Information

By making the finding of relationship between diameter &
circumference EASY for students – students missed out on
the opportunity to

Develop relationship identifying strategies

Relationship between diameter & circumference is assumed as it is
given in the procedure

Ask good questions

Why do I find the circumference – to – diameter ratio?

Why do I use a scatter plot?

Develop a belief system about mathematics

Leads students to mistakenly believe that math does NOT include
exploring, justifying, representing, predicting, & communicating.

Let Them Do Math

Simplify a problem statement, not its solution process

Problems without numbers create an environment for “outside
the box” thinking using their own cognitive power

A cyclist competed in a race. How long did it take him to

Students are confused – good thing!

Forces them to THINK and ask questions to solve the puzzle

Teacher provided them with information about the Tour de
France – location, number of cyclists, how long and how many

Students in group came up with questions pertaining to
necessary data and the need to know speed and distance.

Students from one group restructured the question into a
working formula:

Baron competed in a 130-mile race. His average speed
was 30 mph. How long did it take him to finish the race?

Students solved problem using their own methods

Desired Outcomes

Important to engage students in conversations about mathematics to
encourage inquiry and problem solving techniques

Need to show students it is OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to try several
times before solving a problem

Show students that not all problems can be done QUICKLY.

Question students on their method of solving. Don’t be quick to point
it’s wrong. Engage in conversation as to what was done correctly and
how he/she could improve on their technique.

Remember to allow students to engage in challenging problems.
Remove yourself from the solving process as much as possible! Shift the
responsibility of the “thinking process” over to the students.

Putting Mathematical Discourse in Writing
Sararose D. Lynch & Johnna J. Bolyard


Create a classroom environment where students engage in meaningful
mathematical discourse

Teacher created a penpal relationship between their 6th grade students and
preservice teachers

Students were given a problem and asked to complete a graphic organizer with:

The problem’s main question

Potential solution methods

The student’s work

The student’s final response

Penpals reviewed graphic organizers

They created responses and questions about the student’s work which would
require additional explanation from students

Drawing on higher-order thinking skills

Teacher Observations

After analyzing the correspondence between
students and penpals:
 If

students completely understood context of problem,
they could more easily give descriptive,
mathematically based explanations of their problemsolving processes
 Explicit questioning from the preservice teacher
probed and encouraged students’ mathematical


As a result of the pen pal research, the teacher

Provided students more opportunities to communicate their
mathematical thinking & reasoning

Implemented the use of self-monitoring based on the THINK
framework (Thomas 2006)

Encourages students to analyze and produces solving strategies on
their own

Changed learning goals from procedural focus to a reflective &
conceptual view

Created classroom environment where students engage in
meaningful verbal and written discourse to support overall