Using surveys and focus groups in an inquiry project, the authors learned that four research-based pedagogical moves improved their teaching and inspired students to persist in problem solving.
Anjali Deshpande and Shannon Guglielmo
Several years ago, I was working with a group of high school math teachers. Their assistant principal was impressed with their practice of sharing data from common assessments, assuming that they used these data to drive instruction. However, when I asked the teachers which data they used when teaching, they said that student work and questions during class were much more valuable. Apparently, people may interpret “data-driven instruction” differently. As a mathematics teacher, what data can you collect, and how can you use those data to improve instruction?
The April problem scenario from last year requires students to read and interpret data from a table. All classroom teachers are invited to showcase students' in-depth thinking and work on problems previously published in Teaching Children Mathematics.
Amanda Sibley and Terri L. Kurz
Earth Day presents an annual opportunity to discuss sustainability with students. This article describes a six-week unit that integrated sustainability and mathematics at the intermediate elementary school level. Students explored a topic and identified solutions that would support preserving resources for the betterment of our planet. The iSTEM (Integrating Science Technology Engineering in Mathematics) authors share ideas and activities that stimulate student interest in the integrated fields STEM in K—grade 6 classrooms.
Each month, elementary teachers receive a problem, along with suggested instructional notes and often a student activity sheet. Teachers are to use the problem in their own classrooms and report solutions, strategies, reflections, and misconceptions to the journal audience. November is election month in the United States. Every four years, opportunities arise for classroom discussions related to selecting the next U.S. president. In elementary school classrooms, mock elections can provide data to use for many mathematical explorations and graphical representations.
James A. Preston
A good problem can capture students' curiosity and can serve many functions in the elementary school classroom: to introduce specific concepts the teacher can build on once students recognize the need for additional mathematics or to help students see where to apply already-learned concepts. We encourage teachers to use the monthly problem in their own classrooms and report solutions, strategies, reflections, and misconceptions to the journal audience.
Wonderful opportunities to engage students in enjoying the beauty and products of the season, autumn celebrations are also ripe with themes for various mathematics problems and activities: pumpkins, hay rides, apples, scarecrows, and the changing colors of the leaves. To promote problem solving and critical thinking, the October problems are situated in the context of an elementary school's fall festival.
E. Fanny Sosenke
April 10, 2018, was “Equal Pay Day.” In the United States, on average, women earn less than men, which means that they must work more days to earn the same amount of pay. Equal Pay Day represents how many more days women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.
Lisa A. Brooks and Juli K. Dixon
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.
Gina Fill and Linda Watson
This section of the Problem Solvers department discusses the classroom results of using problems presented in previous issues of Teaching Children Mathematics.