June Issue of NCTM’s New Journal Underscores Importance of Cognitively Demanding Tasks

May 18, 2020

 June Issue of NCTM’s New Journal Underscores Importance of Cognitively Demanding Tasks



Contact: Christine Noddin, 703.620.9840, cnoddin@nctm.org


RESTON—May 18, 2020—The June issue of Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK–12 (MTLT), the new practitioner journal from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), features useful articles for every grade level, with topics that can be put into practice immediately in your classroom.


In “Purposeful Questioning With High Cognitive-Demand Tasks,” Allyson Hallman-Thrasher, an assistant professor of mathematics education at Ohio University, and Denise A. Spangler, Dean of the College of Education at the University of Georgia, show examples of teachers who develop and pose inquiries to engage students in activities that target their thinking and allow them to communicate and justify their ideas.


In “Opportunities for Redefining Unconventional Units,” Nicole M. Wessman-Enzinger, an assistant professor at George Fox University, and Kristina M. Hofer, a teacher of K–8 science lab and STEM classes in Oregon, reimagine units in alternative ways that allow students to build a conceptual understanding of fractions.


Wessman-Enzinger and Hofer believe, “Redefining the whole in unconventional ways with fractions supports students in understanding part-whole relationships of fractions conceptually.” They go on to say, “In this article, we share three tasks and our grade 5 students’ flexible thinking that support redefining the whole in unconventional ways with fractions. We hope to spark ideas on how you can use unconventional wholes with fractions in your own classroom.”


In the classroom-ready article “Batman Reimagined,” Jerome A. White, a precalculus and AP Calculus teacher at Lusher Charter High School in New Orleans, Louisiana, offers a challenging scalable process for graphing complex designs from a single parametric equation pair.


“Born out of a playful taunt by a student, the development of this “Batman” parametric curve lesson has become one of my greatest professional thrills,” says White. “Students indulge their artistic expression and persevere through a challenging culmination of pre-calculus skills. The resulting projects have become a consistent annual highlight for students and for me as their teacher.”


The June Ear to the Ground department, “Hook, Line and Sinker,” features John Rowe, a high school mathematics teacher from Adelaide, South Australia, describing an approach outlined in his eBook that provides teachers with a starting point for sparking student curiosity, developing the need to learn, and consolidating learning in multiple ways.



Other articles of interest in this issue include these:

  • “Classroom Rules Reimagined as the Rights of the Learner” by Crystal Kalinec-Craig and Rose Ann Robles 
  • “A Wonder-Full Task Leads to a Wonder-Full Intervention” by Robyn Ruttenberg-Rozen
  • “Evaluating Videos for Flipped Instruction Educators can Learn the Framework Behind Creating Interactive Multimedia, a Valuable Addition to Classroom Lectures” by Samuel Otten, Wenmin Zhao, Zandra de Araujo, and Milan Sherman
  • “Addressing the Hammer-and-Nail Phenomenon” by Kien H. Lim
  • “Teaching Proportionality Through Robotics” by Shelli Casler-Failing
  • “Constructing and Unpacking Diagrams in Geometry” by Kimberly A. Conner


NCTM encourages those interested in contributing to the publication to review the writing guidelines.




The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is the public voice of mathematics education, supporting teachers to ensure equitable mathematics learning of the highest quality for each and every student through vision, leadership, professional development and research. With 40,000 members and more than 200 Affiliates, it is the world’s largest organization dedicated to improving mathematics education in prekindergarten through grade 12. NCTM is dedicated to ongoing dialogue and constructive discussion with all stakeholders about what is best for students and envisions a world where everyone is enthused about mathematics, sees the value and beauty of mathematics, and is empowered by the opportunities mathematics affords.