Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Building Mathematical Comprehension - Chapter 3

Chapter 3 - Making Mathematical Connections

Our brains have different "drawers" where new information can be placed or organized.  
When students are exposed to something new, they may need to open up a drawer and pull out some prior knowledge to build connections.  Some students may not know how to do this.   It is up to us as teachers to show them how.

In literacy, we talk about the following connections:
text - to - self, text - to - text, and text - to - world

Let's see how these same ideas can be used in mathematics
  • Math - to - Self - Happens when students see how math relates to them.  
    •  between their age and math
    •  seeing a quarter being what they use in the gumball machine
    •  recognizing the number 8 as the number of legs on the spider they caught
  • Math - to - Math - happens when students make connections between some math concepts they already learned about and the math they are learning now. 
    • An example might be...  students previously learned about "turn around facts" and now make that connection when learning about fact families.
  • Math to World - happens when students see math in the world around them.
    • Student sees patterns in the weather
    • Student can tell you how many more points their team had than the other team.
    • Student uses money at the grocery store.
What strategies can teachers use to help students make connections?
  • Think-Alouds
    • Model, model model
    • To do this you must prepare and plan the connections
    • Use precise language or sentence stems such as...
        • I remember ....
        • I know that ...
        • This reminds of when ...
        • That is like ....
  • One Minute Schema Determiner
    • Create a T-chart - on one side list a familiar term & on the other a not so familiar term.  Start the timer and have students share what they know in 1 minute about both terms.   
  • Math Stretches 
    • Quick & Focused Discussions
      • How did my family use math last night?
      • ______ makes me think of ________.
  • Mathematical Current Events 
    • Include them as part of your morning routine
    • Have students bring some in also
  • Anchor Charts

  • In Context Problem Solving 

  • Use Children's Literature - Books can take you places you have never been and they can  help you experience math and begin making connections.  As children connect with characters they can begin building their schema.


  1. I absolutely adore your blog design and all of the wonderful ideas you share Tamera!Thanks for the tips on mathematical connections.I'm following with Bloglovin!
    Creative Lesson Cafe

  2. I felt that this chapter was filled with great ideas...which I plan on using in my classroom.
    Thanks for your insight.


  3. Great post. I really like how you broke it down and shared the main points.
    Thinking of Teaching