Each month Asked & Answered highlights selected threads from the MyNCTM community. MyNCTM is an online community where NCTM members can ask questions, start and join discussions, and interact with education experts. We encourage you to join the conversation at https://my.nctm.org.

# Browse

### Katherine Baker, Naomi A. Jessup, Victoria R. Jacobs, Susan B. Empson, and Joan Case

Productive struggle is an essential part of mathematics instruction that promotes learning with deep understanding. A video scenario is used to provide a glimpse of productive struggle in action and to showcase its characteristics for both students and teachers. Suggestions for supporting productive struggle are provided.

### LouAnn H. Lovin

Moving beyond memorization of probability rules, the area model can be useful in making some significant ideas in probability more apparent to students. In particular, area models can help students understand when and why they multiply probabilities and when and why they add probabilities.

The Asked & Answered department shares excerpts from discussion threads on the online MyNCTM community. In this issue, featured threads highlight responses to members' questions related to mathematical depth in preschool, spiral review in the upper elementary grades, ideas for differentiation in middle school, and projects for high school algebra.

### Susan Baker Empson, Victoria R. Jacobs, Naomi A. Jessup, Ms. Amy Hewitt, D'Anna Pynes, and Gladys Krause

The complexity of understanding unit fractions is often underappreciated in instruction. We introduce a continuum of children's understanding of unit fractions to explore this complexity and to help teachers make sense of children's strategies and recognize milestones in the development of unit-fraction understanding. Suggestions for developing this understanding are provided.

### Alyson E. Lischka and D. Christopher Stephens

The area model for multiplication can be used as a tool to help learners make connections between mathematical concepts that are included in mathematics curriculum across grade levels. We present ways the area model might be used in teaching about various concepts and explain how those ideas are connected.

The Asked & Answered department shares excerpts from discussion threads on the online MyNCTM community. In this issue, featured threads highlight responses to members' questions regarding 1st grade number sense, multiplication and division of fractions, issues of definition and precision related to circles, and the value of rationalizing denominators.

### Alyson E. Lischka, Kyle M. Prince, and Samuel D. Reed

Encouraging students to persevere in problem solving can be accomplished using extended tasks where students solve a problem over an extended time. This article presents a structure for use of extended tasks and examples of student thinking that can emerge through such tasks. Considerations for implementation are provided.

### Gabriel Matney, Julia Porcella, and Shannon Gladieux

This article shares the importance of giving K-12 students opportunities to develop spatial sense. We explain how we designed Quick Blocks as an activity to engage our students in both spatial reasoning and number sense. Several examples of students thinking are shared as well as a classroom dialogue.

### Renee Parker and M. Lynn Breyfogle

This student-friendly rubric helped improve third graders' competencies when explaining solution strategies in writing.