Base-Ten Block Challenge

Have you ever looked at your students working in groups and wondered, “How can I ensure that all of my students are involved in solving this task?” With similar concerns, we found ourselves talking about complex instruction (Featherstone et al. 2011) as a way to help facilitate equitable participation within group work for our students. This Problem Solvers Problem highlights our collaborative efforts in designing a complex instruction task, which supports all students' contributions in problem solving.

Supplementary Materials

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Contributor Notes

Nicole M. Wessman-Enzinger teaches mathematics education at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. She is interested in children's thinking about number.

Barbara A. Swartz teaches mathematics and mathematics education courses at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. She enjoys working with preservice and in-service teachers around designing and implementing challenging tasks.

Sararose D. Lynch teaches mathematics education at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. She works with preservice and in-service teachers to help them promote mathematical discourse that creates opportunities for all students to learn mathematics with understanding.

Cathy Marks Krpan,, a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, Canada. She teaches math education courses in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching graduate program. Each month, this section of the Problem Solvers department features a new challenge for students. Readers are encouraged to submit problems to be considered for future columns. Receipt of problems will not be acknowledged; however, those selected for publication will be credited to the author. Find submission guidelines for all departments at

(Corresponding author is Lynch
Teaching Children Mathematics


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