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ERIC Number: EJ1152207
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-May
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
We're in Math Class Playing Games, Not Playing Games in Math Class
McFeetors, P. Janelle; Palfy, Kylie
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v22 n9 p534-544 May 2017
Early experiences of reasoning while playing games of strategy are foundational for future proofs that students will be expected to build using conventionally structured arguments. But how did game playing in school occur? How can educators be sure that mathematical reasoning is going on? The authors investigated these questions to understand how to improve students' reasoning. Knowing that reasoning is a cornerstone of success in mathematics, the authors believed that it was important to focus on logical thinking as a mathematical practice. They chose the context of abstract strategy games because games in this category depend on logical reasoning for players to win. In fact, the games require logic to move from singular moves to effective strategies. The authors also wanted students to value reasoning as an integral part of thinking mathematically, which could then be applied across all mathematics content. They use Reid's (2002) definition of mathematical reasoning as an overall, systematic, and logical pattern of behavior. In this article, the authors share two pedagogical practices: (1) setting the stage; and (2) purposeful prompting. The intention is to describe the pedagogic decisions that led to an environment in which reasoning developed through sustained engagement. They then illustrate the qualities of students' emergent reasoning as patterns of thinking to legitimize a focus on learning reasoning.
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
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A