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ERIC Number: EJ1123004
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Dec
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
Using Scaffolding to Scale-up Justifications
James, Carolyn; Casas, Ana; Grant, Douglas
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v22 n5 p294-301 Dec 2016
Open-ended mathematical tasks provide great opportunities for students to engage in authentic mathematical practices, such as conjecturing, generalizing, and justifying. Supporting students in open-ended tasks can be challenging. Appropriate scaffolding of a task has been linked to more opportunities for student learning and better student solutions (Mayer 2004; Henningsen and Stein 1997). But what does effective scaffolding look like? The JAGUAR project (Justification and Argumentations: Growing Understanding of Algebraic Reasoning) was a collaborative research and professional project that investigated justification in middle school classrooms. Each teacher implemented four justification tasks over one school year. After discussion and reflection, those same tasks were implemented a second time the next school year, with some modifications. The goal in the first year was for students to discover patterns in the relationship between scaling side lengths and the resulting area. In the second year, the math objective shifted toward explaining why the relationship held, which improved student justifications. The tasks were implemented with different eighth-grade students from year to year, but the school and context remained the same.
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 - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL0814829