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Annie Perkins and Christy Pettis

A same-area but different-perimeter problem is explored.

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Dorothy Varygiannes

This department publishes brief news articles, announcements, and guest editorials on current mathematics education issues that stimulate the interest of TCM readers and cause them to think about an issue or consider a specific viewpoint. This month's guest editorial provides the platform for individuals to reflect on the positive impact that open-ended tasks can play in the teaching and learning of early mathematics. Classroom examples of open-ended expectations establish the immediate tie to fostering both 21st century skills and the Common Core State initiatives.

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Julie S. Long

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Reagan Bachour, Sarah Braun and Andrew M. Tyminski

Each month, this section of the problem solvers department showcases students' in-depth thinking and discusses classroom results of using problems from previous issues of Teaching Children Mathematics. In these solutions to the November 2015 problem, readers have a window into early elementary students' problem solving and understanding of measurement. Third graders were presented with tasks using maps of two lakes and various manipulatives to determine the bigger lake. Students discovered and were able to articulate that identifying the bigger lake depends on the attributes, area, and perimeter explored and that different attributes could result in different solutions.

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Erin R. Moss

As you are enjoying your favorite icecream cone or sundae, take a moment to think about where your ice cream came from. If you have never visited a dairy farm, you might have a quaint image of a person sitting on a stool, milking a cow by hand into a metal pail. However, technological advances have automated many aspects of dairy farming, including processes for efficient milking. A rotary milking parlor is one such technology currently in use.

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Farshid Safi, Sarah B. Bush and Siddhi Desai

Students explore the idea of equal versus equivalent, then learn about the social, political, economic, and educational implications of gerrymandering.

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Edited by Brian Bowen

Do you recall the formula for the surface area of a cylinder? How about the surface area of a cone? Did you find one of these formulas more difficult to recall than the other? I have observed a difference in our students' understanding of these two formulas, and this has motivated me to think about a more conceptually based approach to learning geometric formulas.

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Chrystal Dean

This variation of Simon's (1995) rectangle exploration will have students investigating area in a conceptual manner that goes beyond tiling and formulas. Each month, elementary school teachers are given a problem along with suggested instructional notes; are asked to use the problem in their own classrooms; and are encouraged to report solutions, strategies, reflections, and misconceptions to the journal audience.

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Jordan T. Hede and Jonathan D. Bostic

See how sixth-grade students design and create quilt squares for this geometry project.

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Edited by Colleen D. Foster

Each month this section of the Problem Solvers department features a new challenge for students. Readers are encouraged to submit problems to be considered for future Problem Solvers columns. Receipt of problems will not be acknowledged; however, problems selected for publication will be credited to the author. Find detailed submission guidelines for all departments at www.nctm.org/tcmdepartments.