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ERIC Number: EJ886395
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
Developing Mathematical Habits of Mind
Mark, June; Cuoco, Al; Goldenberg, E. Paul; Sword, Sarah
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v15 n9 p505-509 May 2010
"Mathematical habits of mind" include reasoning by continuity, looking at extreme cases, performing thought experiments, and using abstraction that mathematicians use in their work. Current recommendations emphasize the critical nature of developing these habits of mind: "Once this kind of thinking is established, students can apply it in the context of geometry, trigonometry, calculus, data and statistics, or other advanced courses" ("Achieve" 2008, p4). The authors argue that developing mathematical habits of mind in the middle grades is essential for students who are making the critical transition from arithmetic to algebra. These habits can also build on students' early algebraic thinking and help them move toward a more formal investigation of algebraic ideas typically found in an eighth-grade or ninth-grade algebra course. The authors present examples illustrating two particularly powerful mathematical habits of mind that focus on the critical transition from arithmetic to algebra. These habits take advantage of students' natural inclinations to find patterns and describe those patterns with language. The middle grades are an especially good time developmentally to build these skills. (Contains 1 figure.)
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: Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A