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ERIC Number: EJ1110593
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Aug
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
The "Brick Wall" Graphic Organizer
Matteson, Shirley M.
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v22 n1 p38-45 Aug 2016
A brick wall provides a fitting description of what happens when teachers try to teach a concept for which students are unprepared. When students are unsuccessful academically, their foundational knowledge may be missing, incomplete, or incorrect. As a result, students "hit a brick wall," and their academic progress stops because they do not understand and/or they hold misconceptions about a particular concept. Just as in the construction of a building, if one tries to place additional tiers of bricks (content knowledge) on a weak or incomplete framework, the structure starts to sag and, as additional layers are added, finally collapses. This content knowledge collapse often manifests as student frustration during the lesson, a clear signal to the teacher to reinforce foundational concepts. The "Brick Wall" graphic organizer, described in this article, serves to help teachers target foundational, discrete concepts and procedures critical to the understanding of the topic at hand. Scope and sequence documents contain a general road map of the curriculum, but a Brick Wall graphic organizer shows how concepts build on each other.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-9840; Fax: 703-476-2570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A