The STEM Education Blog

Using discussions about math to improve student proficiency

Aug 19, 2020 12:00:00 PM / by Rebecca Ellis

On paper, math problems can be confusing and difficult to think through. Because of this, students are now being encouraged to talk about their math thinking. According to this article in Edutopia, math conversations not only make the math problems easier for students to understand, but they also help the instructor better evaluate student progress.

Many schools have seen that using math talks as a teaching technique has improved students’ proficiency with math concepts. While the practice has been mentioned in past publications, the new Common Core State Standards have made the technique more popular. These standards prioritize that students know how to “construct viable arguments and critique others’ reasoning” with math concepts.

Canva - null-1Typically, math conversations are done most successfully by dividing students into partners or small groups, whether that be in the classroom or on a digital platform. One method of doing this is to have students work through a problem and then exchange papers, comparing their work to another student’s and discussing.

However, other successful methods for engaging students in math conversations include having students work together to reach an agreed-upon solution; as a class, asking students to explain how they arrived at their solution; or giving students a solution and asking them to work backwards, explaining the thought process behind it.

However, there are countless techniques for fostering math conversations in the classroom. No matter what your approach, the important part is simply to get students talking.

Read the full story here: 4 Ways to Encourage Math Talks.

For further resources about engaging students in math, click here.

Topics: Promoting Interest in STEM, Science, Math & Computer Science, STEM Learning Methodologies

Rebecca Ellis

Written by Rebecca Ellis