Try these meaningful alternative approaches to helping students make sense of word problems.

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### Stefanie D. Livers, Kristin E. Harbour and Lindsey Fowler

In our attempts to make a concept easier, we may hinder student learning.

### Emily Dardis and Megan H. Wickstrom

Modifications to a first- and second-grade STEAM activity, Elephant Toothpaste, highlight ways to emphasize mathematical thinking by running multiple experiments, posing mathematical questions, and having students make both qualitative and quantitative observations. Contributors to the iSTEM department share ideas and activities that stimulate student interest in the integrated fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in K–grade 5 classrooms.

### Clayton M. Edwards, Rebecca R. Robichaux-Davis and Brian E. Townsend

Three inquiry-based tasks highlight the planning, classroom discourse, positive results, and growth in one class's journey.

### Stephen Phelps

### Edited by Anna F. DeJarnette

A monthly set of problems targets a variety of ability levels.

### Imani M. Goffney

### Edited by Naima F. Goffney

My name is Naima Goffney, and I am an eleven-year-old seventh grader at Julius West Middle School. I am taking algebra 1 this year. I wanted to write the Math for Real because in math class I do not always think that what we are learning is related to the real world. At home, my mom shows me all the different ways I am mathematically smart, which makes me want to try harder in school during the “rougher” days. We can use math to know more about how to improve our skills and find the math we learn in school more interesting and more related to our real world as middle schoolers.

### Daniel J. Heck, Jill V. Hamm, Jessica A. Dula, Pippa Hoover and Abigail S. Hoffman

Three seventh graders, working as a small group in their math class, had a conversation about adding and subtracting integers. The students discussed the challenges they faced in the assigned task.

### P. Reneé Hill-Cunningham

Hundreds of species of animals around the world are losing their habitats and food supplies, are facing extinction, or have been hunted or otherwise negatively influenced by humans. Students learn about some of these animals and explore multiple solution strategies as they solve this month's problems. Math by the Month features collections of short activities focused on a monthly theme. These articles aim for an inquiry or problem-solving orientation that includes four activities each for grade bands K–2, 3–4, and 5–6.