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ERIC Number: EJ1165987
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jan
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
Seven Billion People: Fostering Productive Struggle
Murawska, Jaclyn M.
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v23 n4 p208-214 Jan 2018
How can a cognitively demanding real-world task such as the Seven Billion People problem promote productive struggle "and" help shape students' mathematical dispositions? Driving home from school one evening, Jaclyn Murawska heard a commentator on the radio announce three statements: (1) experts had determined that the world population had reached 7 billion people; (2) if you laid out all the people on earth end to end, they would circle the earth 266 times; and (3) if all 7 billion people stood shoulder to shoulder, they would all fit into Los Angeles. Skeptical of the veracity of the latter two claims, Murawska went to work verifying them, which required making assumptions, performing some estimation, converting units within a measurement system, and doing calculations with circumference and area (i.e., using the Common Core's standards 4.MD.1, 5.MD.1, and 7.G.B.4; CCSSI 2010). Surprisingly she found that both the last two statements were reasonable. In this article, she explores to what extent this task would elicit productive struggle in her preservice elementary- and middle-level teachers.
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: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A