Connecting Research to Teaching: Comparing Pays Off

Consider the following, perhaps familiar, scenario. A mathematics teacher is circulating around the classroom, looking over the shoulders of students who are busy solving linear equations such as 3x + 2 = 5x + 8. The teacher notices that one student, Paul, persists in using his own somewhat idiosyncratic and quite inefficient strategy (see fig. 1). Although Paul's strategy is not fundamentally incorrect, the extra steps required can lead to more calculation errors and wasted time.

Footnotes

Edited by Thomas A. Evitts, TAEvit@ship.edu, Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, PA 17257

Karen Heinz, Heinz@rowan.edu, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028

Contributor Notes

Jon R. Star, jon_star@harvard.edu, is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He studies the teaching and learning of mathematics, with a particular focus on algebra.

Martina Kenyon, mkenyon@ayer.k12.ma.us, who teaches high school mathematics at Ayer Middle-High School in Ayer, Massachusetts, focuses on helping students build problem-solving skills in first- and second-year algebra and geometry.

Rebecca M. Joiner, rebecca_joiner@hotmail.com, has taught middle school mathematics for several years. She is interested in the development of meaningful learning experiences through comparison, prior experiences, and peer interactions.

Bethany Rittle-Johnson, b.rittle-johnson@vanderbilt.edu, an assistant professor in the psychology and human development department at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, studies how children learn mathematics and ways to improve mathematics teaching. Jill Anderson; Martina Kenyon; Jeffrey Joiner; Joshua Johnson

(Corresponding author is Star jon_star@harvard.edu)(Corresponding author is Kenyon mkenyon@ayer.k12.ma.us)(Corresponding author is Joiner rebecca_joiner@hotmail.com)(Corresponding author is Rittle-Johnson b.rittle-johnson@vanderbilt.edu)
The Mathematics Teacher

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