For the Love of Mathematics
Few high school students associate mathematics with playfulness. In this paper, we offer a series of lessons focused on the underlying algebraic structures of the Rubik's Cube. The Rubik's Cube offers students an interesting space to enjoy the playful side of mathematics, while appreciating mathematics otherwise lost in routine experiences.
This month's Growing Problem Solvers focuses on Data Analysis across all grades beginning with visual representations of categorical data and moving to measures of central tendency using a “working backwards” approach.
Given the prominence of group work in mathematics education policy and curricular materials, it is important to understand how students make sense of mathematics during group work. We applied techniques from Systemic Functional Linguistics to examine how students positioned themselves during group work on a novel task in Algebra II classes. We examined the patterns of positioning that students demonstrated during group work and how students' positioning moves related to the ways they established the resources, operations, and product of a task. Students who frequently repositioned themselves created opportunities for mathematical reasoning by attending to the resources and operations necessary for completing the task. The findings of this study suggest how students' positioning and mathematical reasoning are intertwined and jointly support collaborative learning through work on novel tasks.
Research on students' learning has made it clear that learning happens through an interaction with others and through communication. In the classroom, the more students talk and discuss their ideas, the more they learn. However, within a one-hour period, it is hard to give everyone an equal opportunity to talk and share their ideas. Organizing students in groups distributes classroom talk more widely and equitably (Cohen and Lotan 1997).
Given two slices of bread—a problem and the answer—students fill in the fixings: their own mathematics reasoning.
When calculating the area of a trapezoid, students use a range of problem-solving strategies and measurement concepts.
Conjecturing is central to the work of reasoning and proving. This task gives fourth and fifth graders a chance to make conjectures and prove (or disprove) them.
A second-grade teacher challenges the raise-your-hand-to-speak tradition and enables a classroom community of student-driven conversations that share both mathematical understandings and misunderstandings.
Communicating reasoning and constructing models fold nicely into a geometry activity involving the building of nesting boxes.