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.
Emily Dardis and Megan H. Wickstrom
Signe E. Kastberg and R. Scott Frye
How do classroom behavioral expectations support the development of students' mathematical reasoning? A sixth-grade teacher and his students developed this example while discussing a ratio comparison problem.
Wendy S. Bray
Incorporating a focus on students' mistakes into your instruction can advance their understanding.
Derek A. Stiffler
Erin R. Moss
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.
Julie James and Alice Steimle
Each month, elementary school teachers are given a problem along with suggested instructional notes. They are asked to use the problem in their own classrooms and report solutions, strategies, reflections, and misconceptions to the journal audience. This task allows students the opportunity to explore the magnitude of fractions in comparison to different sizes of wholes.
Sarah Quebec Fuentes
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. The October 2014 problem scenario offers students an opportunity to divide whole chocolate bars into fractional amounts to gain understanding of the partitioning of a whole into different fractional amounts, on comparing these amounts, and on the ability to develop and defend their thinking.
Chepina Rumsey, Jody Guarino, Jennie Beltramini, Shelbi Cole, Alicia Farmer, Kristin Gray and Morgan Saxby
Read about how the authors used many technological tools and platforms to engage a team of educators across the country in this collaborative project.
Angela T. Barlow, Alyson E. Lischka, James C. Willingham and Kristin S. Hartland
A well-crafted opening problem can provide preassessment of students' fraction knowledge and assist teachers in determining next steps for instruction.
Janet B. Andreasen and Jessica H. Hunt
To meet diverse student needs, use an approach that is situated in understanding fractions.