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Richardson, Janessa; Bachman, Rachel M. – Mathematics Teacher, 2017

This article describes a preservice teacher's imaginative exploration of completing the square through a process of reasoning and sense making. She recounts historical perspectives and her own discoveries in the process of completing the square. Through this process of sense making, she engaged with the content standard of completing the square to…

Descriptors: Preservice Teachers, Mathematics Instruction, Mathematical Concepts, Mathematical Logic

Freeburn, Ben; Arbaugh, Fran – Mathematics Teacher, 2017

"Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All" (NCTM 2014, p. 10) contains eight research-informed teaching practices that have been shown to support students' mathematical thinking and learning. Two teaching practices highlighted herein are "to elicit and use evidence of students' thinking" and "support…

Descriptors: Mathematics Instruction, Teaching Methods, Mathematical Logic, Thinking Skills

McCaffrey, Tony; Matthews, Percival G. – Mathematics Teacher, 2017

In this article, the authors discuss the potential of the icon-based mathematical games, emoji math and mobile math, to promote student engagement with and understanding of algebra. They describe how these games serve as accessible entry points for algebraic thinking and that, in contrast to traditional symbolic algebra, the use of these…

Descriptors: Mathematics Instruction, Algebra, Educational Technology, Technology Uses in Education

Taff, Jason – Mathematics Teacher, 2017

In this article, Jason Taff shares an approach that he presented to advanced seventh-grade prealgebra students. He begins by summarizing some of the shortcomings of equating the order of operations concept with the PEMDAS (often rendered mnemonically as "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally") procedure with the hope of helping teachers at…

Descriptors: Grade 7, Algebra, Mathematics Instruction, Mnemonics

Kress, Nancy Emerson – Mathematics Teacher, 2017

One of the primary expectations that the author has for her students is for them to develop greater independence when solving complex and unique mathematical problems. The story of how the author supports her students as they gain confidence and independence with complex and unique problem-solving tasks, while honoring their expectations with…

Descriptors: Mathematics Instruction, Problem Solving, Models, Teacher Student Relationship

Goldenberg, E. Paul; Carter, Cynthia J. – Mathematics Teacher, 2017

A first-year algebra student's curiosity about factorials of negative numbers became a starting point for an extended discovery lesson into territory not usually explored in secondary school mathematics. In this article, the authors, math teachers in Massachusetts, examine how to solve for factorials of negative numbers and discuss how they taught…

Descriptors: Algebra, Secondary School Mathematics, Numbers, Mathematics Teachers

Lommatsch, Christina W. – Mathematics Teacher, 2017

"Find the extreme values of the function." "At what rate is the distance between A and B increasing after 12 seconds?" Prompts like these can be heard in most first-semester calculus courses. Unfortunately, these cues also tend to prompt students' eyes to glaze over with thoughts of "When will I ever use this?" This…

Descriptors: Mathematics Instruction, Calculus, Relevance (Education), Career Choice

Housen, Monica – Mathematics Teacher, 2017

In this article, Monica Housen describes how she uses Guess the Number of . . . , a game that develops estimation skills and persistence to provide a fun, to provide a meaningful experience for her high school students. Each week she displays objects in a clear plastic container, like those for pretzels sold in bulk. Students enter a…

Descriptors: High School Students, Mathematics Instruction, Educational Games, Teaching Methods

Jaqua, Kathy M. C. – Mathematics Teacher, 2017

The activity of snapping photographs to document all parts of daily life and sharing them with friends is the norm for many students. What if we could make mathematics as natural a part of daily life through "mathematical selfies"? The author's goal is to use students' love of selfies to help them see that mathematics is already part of…

Descriptors: Mathematics Instruction, Photography, Teaching Methods, Handheld Devices

McDowell, Eric L. – Mathematics Teacher, 2016

By the time they reach middle school, all students have been taught to add fractions. However, not all have "learned" to add fractions. The common mistake in adding fractions is to report that a/b + c/d is equal to (a + c)/(b + d). It is certainly necessary to correct this mistake when a student makes it. However, this occasion also…

Descriptors: Fractions, Number Systems, Number Concepts, Numbers

Baron, Lorraine M. – Mathematics Teacher, 2016

Twenty-five years of teaching grades 8-12 mathematics has shown the author that students learn best when they can construct their own knowledge (constructivism) and that students, given appropriate guidance, can and will take on responsibility for their own learning (self-regulation theory). This article describes some classroom tools that she has…

Descriptors: Mathematics Instruction, Secondary School Mathematics, Constructivism (Learning), Learner Engagement

Dickman, Benjamin – Mathematics Teacher, 2016

Guessing, for Pólya, is an important way of getting an initial handle on a mathematical problem. An argument can be made to place guessing in any one of the first three steps of the four-step approach to problem solving as described in "How to Solve It" (Pólya 1945). It could be a part of understanding the problem, devising a plan, or…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Mathematics Instruction, Calculus, Fractions

Gunter, Devon – Mathematics Teacher, 2016

It is no easy feat to engage young people with abstract material as well as push them to greater depths of understanding. Add in the extra pressures of curriculum expectations and standards and the problem is exacerbated. Projects designed around standards and having multiple entry points clearly offer students the best opportunity to engage with…

Descriptors: Algebra, Calculus, Student Projects, Motion

Hurdle, Zach; Warshauer, Max; White, Alex – Mathematics Teacher, 2016

The desire to persuade students to avoid strictly memorizing formulas is a recurring theme throughout discussions of curriculum and problem solving. In combinatorics, a branch of discrete mathematics, problems can be easy to write--identify a few categories, add a few restrictions, specify an outcome--yet extremely challenging to solve. A lesson…

Descriptors: Mathematics Instruction, Mathematics Activities, Mathematical Formulas, Computation

Hallman-Thrasher, Allyson; Litchfield, Erin T.; Dael, Kevin E. – Mathematics Teacher, 2016

Matrices occupy an awkward spot in a typical algebra 2 textbook: sandwiched between solving linear systems and solving quadratics. Even teachers who do not base their course timeline and pacing on the class textbook may find a disconnect between how matrices are taught (procedurally) and how other topics are taught (conceptually or with real-world…

Descriptors: Multiplication, Algebra, Mathematics Instruction, Teaching Methods