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 about some aspect of mathematics education.
This article presents solutions to the April 2017 problem scenario, which offers students the opportunity to explore many ways to partition a square. Students can generate ideas about halves, thirds, and fourths through the exploration of squares and rectangles. Students can also recognize that equal shares do not necessarily have to be congruent. Each month, this section of the Problem Solvers department showcases students' in-depth thinking and discusses the classroom results of using problems presented in previous issues of Teaching Children Mathematics.
Kien H. Lim and Ashley D. Wilson
Use math videos and different types of inquiries to increase students' intellectual engagement.
Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, and James Hiebert
In our March editorial (Cai et al., 2018), we considered the problem of isolation in the work of teachers and researchers. In particular, we proposed ways to take advantage of emerging technological resources, such as online archives of student data linked to instructional activities and indexed by learning goals, to produce a professional knowledge base (Cai et al., 2017b, 2018). This proposal would refashion our conceptions of the nature and collection of data so that teachers, researchers, and teacher-researcher partnerships could benefit from the accumulated learning of ordinarily isolated groups. Although we have discussed the general parameters for such a system in previous editorials, in this editorial, we present a potential mechanism for accumulating learning into a professional knowledge base, a mechanism that involves collaboration between multiple teacher-researcher partnerships. To illustrate our ideas, we return once again to the collaboration between fourth-grade teacher Mr. Lovemath and mathematics education researcher Ms. Research, who are mentioned in our previous editorials(Cai et al., 2017a, 2017b).
Do prekindergarten students describing and illustrating their attempts at fair-sharing tasks exhibit a spontaneous understanding of fractions prior to formal instruction? This researcher shares her findings.
Postscript items are designed as rich “grab-and-go” resources that any teacher could quickly incorporate into his or her classroom repertoire with little effort and maximum impact. The current article shares ideas for using Pattern Blocks to increase students' creativity and problem solving skills while extending their understanding of geometric reasoning and number sense.
Darrell Earnest and Julie M. Amador
Share news about happenings in the field of elementary school mathematics education, views on matters pertaining to teaching and learning mathematics in the early childhood or elementary school years, and reactions to previously published opinion pieces or articles. Find detailed department submission guidelines at http://www.nctm.org/WriteForTCM.
Edited by Drew Polly
Students' in-depth thinking and work on problems previously published in Teaching Children Mathematics are showcased. The December 2011 problem scenario explores area models and fractions but intentionally avoids using a circular shape, which is the scenario most often drawn on to develop students' fractional understanding. Instead, students cut square “cakes” into fractional pieces.
Trena L. Wilkerson, Tommy Bryan, and Jane Curry
Using candy bars as models gives students a taste for learning to represent fractions whose denominators are factors of twelve.
Wendy S. Bray
Incorporating a focus on students' mistakes into your instruction can advance their understanding.