My second graders recently experienced a new math assessment designed to represent the ideas from the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSI 2010). In reviewing their responses, I determined that my students suffered from a lack of comfort or familiarity with solving math problems that demand critical-thinking skills. In an effort to increase their capacity to think through complex problems in the context of one of our secondgrade curricular goals involving coins, I presented a problem. I had never modeled this type of multistep problem for them. I was interested in discovering their solution strategies. After allowing students to work through the problem independently, I displayed the problem on a document projector, and class members shared their mathematical thinking and reasoning.

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Contributor Notes

Maria Eugenia “Genie” Albina,, teaches second grade at Belding Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois. She focuses on helping students develop the ability to articulate their mathematical thinking.

Edited by Megan Kelly Murray,, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; and Jane Moore,, an associate professor at National Louis University in Chicago, Illinois. See detailed submission guidelines for all departments at

(Corresponding author is Albina author is Murray author is Moore
Teaching Children Mathematics


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