The Arithmetic Teacher

Arithmetic Teacher debuted in 1954. Focusing on the improvement of mathematics instruction in kindergarten and elementary school grades, the journal was replaced in 1994 by Teaching Children Mathematics.


The Arithmetic Teacher will cease publication with this issue. Better to serve NCTM's members, the Council is creating two new journals to give wider coverage to issues in mathematics education for prekindergarten through grade 9. So, at age 40, the Arithmetic Teacher becomes part of the history of NCTM's efforts to support members in facing the numerous challenges of the profession.

Seventh grade teacher: “My students have been working together in groups for a while now. They're getting along fine. But I'm finding that a lot of them still don't understand the work. I tell them to ‘work together’ and that it is all right to help each other. Sometimes I worry that they are only giving each other the answers. How can I get them to focus on problem solving and not just putring down the right answer?”


The “IDEAS” section for this month focuses on connections among mathematics, concern for the environment, and conservation of natural resources. Each activity allows opportunities for communicating, reasoning, and problem solving as students become personally involved in helping to conserve natural resources. This investigative approach that connects mathematics to students' everyday lives is recommended in the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM 1989).

The problem-solving strategy “Make a drawing” is used in both the United States and Japan but with different degrees and varying amounts of success in each country. The purposes of this article are to compare what seem to be Japanese and United States practices in promoting the use of drawings in solving story problems and to use that comparison to suggest some teaching approaches.


The sixth standard in the Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics (NCTM 1991) focuses on analyzing and interconnecting teaching and learning. The standard calls for the analysis of teaching and learning to be ongoing by “[o]bserving, listening to, and gathering other information about students to assess what they are learning.” Teachers examine the “[e]ffects of the tasks, discourse, and learning environment on students' mathematical knowledge, skills, and dispositions.”

Today we find common agreement that effective mathematics instruction in the elementary grades incorporates liberal use of concrete materials. Articles in the Arithmetic Teacher no longer exhort us to use concrete materials, nor does the Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics (NCTM 1991) include a standard on the use of concrete materials. The use of concrete materials seems to be assumed unquestioningly.

  • Collapse
  • Expand