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ERIC Number: EJ878926
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
Bridging the Math Gap
Switzer, J. Matt
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v15 n7 p400-405 Mar 2010
Too often, the experiences that middle school students have in math do not connect to what they experience in elementary school. Although middle school teachers often have a sense of the content that students have learned in elementary school, the school structure and other factors can inhibit communication between elementary school and middle school teachers regarding "how" and "what" math that students have learned in elementary school. Becoming acquainted with their students' prior knowledge, in terms of both what and how they have learned, provides middle school teachers with the opportunity to better bridge the gap between elementary school math and high school math. In this article, the author provides one example of how understanding the partial products algorithm taught in some elementary schools can bridge this gap. In this case, the focus is on the "connections" between what and how students learned mathematics in elementary school, and how teachers can use this information to further students' mathematical understanding. The author concludes that partial products is one example of how making connections between students' prior mathematical experiences in elementary school can help secondary teachers give students opportunities to build on their prior knowledge in powerful ways. (Contains 2 figures.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A