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ERIC Number: EJ1217297
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-May
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
Danger! Animals in the Mathematics Classroom
Livers, Stefanie D.; Harbour, Kristin E.; Fowler, Lindsey
Teaching Children Mathematics, v25 n7 p407-414 May 2019
In this article, Lindsey Fowler describes how an animal rhyme--that she shared with her fifth-grade students with the intention of assisting them with the concept of metric conversions--made fostering the Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMP) more difficult. The addition of animals, which added an extraneous element that students mistakenly attended to--much like rules and tricks--instead of the mathematics, caused confusion because they started basing their mathematical reasoning on something that had no reason at all. In this article, the authors address four common animal troublemakers that hinder both content learning and practice development. The amount of time often devoted to instruction with animals could be spent on more meaningful mathematics tasks that support students in building understanding of the concepts and procedures, rather than simply memorizing a set of steps or skills. For each animal, the authors explain the trick or strategy and the problems with it, and they offer alternatives that are more mathematically sound and meaningful.
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; Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A