Early education is replete with debates about “academic” versus “play” approaches. We evaluated 2 interventions, the Building Blocks (BB) mathematics curriculum and the BB synthesized with scaffolding of play to promote executive function (BBSEF), compared to a business-as-usual (BAU) control using a 3-armed cluster randomized trial with more than 1,000 children in 84 preschool classrooms across three districts (multiracial or multiethnic, low income, 27% English Language Learner). Impact estimates for BBSEF were mixed in sign, small in magnitude, and insignificant. Most impact estimates for BB were positive, but only a few were statistically significant, with more in the kindergarten year (delayed effects), including both mathematics achievement and executive function (EF) competencies. Gains in both mathematics and EF can be mutually supportive and thus resist the fade-out effect.
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Douglas H. Clements, Julie Sarama, Carolyn Layzer, Fatih Unlu and Lily Fesler
Jessica Hunt and Juanita Silva
We investigated the extent to which one elementary school child with working-memory differences made sense of number as a composite unit and advanced her reasoning. Through ongoing and retrospective analysis of eight teaching-experiment sessions, we uncovered four shifts in the child’s real-time negotiation of number over time: (a) initial “2s” and symmetry to consider counting on, (b) participatory awareness of 10 and use of algorithmic knowledge, (c) break apart and growing anticipation of tacit counting, and (d) advanced participatory tacit double counting. The results suggest a possible link between the child’s participatory knowledge and the extent to which her enacted activity met her goals for solving the problem more than her current “knowing.” The implications regarding a possible proof of concept toward implicit, intensive instruction are shared.
Micah S. Stohlmann
An escape room can be a great way for students to apply and practice mathematics they have learned. This article describes the development and implementation of a mathematical escape room with important principles to incorporate in escape rooms to help students persevere in problem solving.
Matt Enlow and S. Asli Özgün-Koca
Equality is one of the main concepts in K–12 mathematics. Students should develop the understanding that equality is a relationship between two mathematical expressions. In this month's GPS, we share tasks asking students one main question: how do they know whether or not two mathematical expressions are equivalent?
Scott Corwin, Michelle Cascio, Katherine Emerson, Laura Henn and Catherine Lewis
Our middle school mathematics department used lesson study to investigate how to introduce fractions division to our sixth-grade students. We highlight our learnings during the Study and Plan phases, describe our observations during the lesson, and provide tips for educators interested in using lesson study to study their own content.
Manouchehri Azita, Ozturk Ayse and Sanjari Azin
In this article we illustrate how one teacher used PhET cannonball simulation as an instructional tool to improve students' algebraic reasoning in a fifth grade classroom. Three instructional phases effective to implementation of simulation included: Free play, Structured inquiry and, Synthesizing ideas.
Aline Abassian and Farshid Safi
This article dives into the importance of engaging students in investigating the mathematics of businesses that pressure their members to recruit new members as a basis for success, also referred to as multi-level marketing (MLM). The mathematics behind these businesses are discussed, and a sample student task is given.
Trena L. Wilkerson
How has NCTM leadership shaped the evolution of teaching and learning mathematics? What are your expectations for NCTM leadership?
Angela T. Barlow
Editor Comments for May 2020 issue
Toya Jones Frank
This article looks back at NCTM's leadership efforts with respect to equity, access, and empowerment and offers suggestions for moving the work forward.