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Have Students Explore Reasoning Behind Their Answer


Mathematics ^21st Century Skills All Ages Strategy


Flexible Thinking Abstract Reasoning

Have Students Explore Reasoning Behind Their Answer

If your student can solve math or science problems but you want to be sure they can extend the application

Teach It!

  1. Objective: Students will go beyond a "right or wrong" answer to ensure they fully understand the reasoning behind their approach. The following are some ways you can specifically require students to more deeply explore their mathematical reasoning with different types of problems:
  2. Use Multiple Approaches: Identify and try two or more ways to arrive at the answer, as opposed to a single approach. Explain each approach and why you chose it.
  3. Explain General Conditions: When using a rubric or algorithm, explain the general conditions in which you use the algorithm and why (i.e. when the numerator is smaller than the denominator we..., when we divide by multiples of 10 we...)
  4. Extend Patterns: For patterns or sequences, provide the next number but also explain the pattern in words.
  5. Create a Diagram: Draw a visual diagram or a flow chart of the steps you took to reach your answer.
  6. Teach It: Teach a peer how to solve the problem.
  7. Apply It: Identify a real life situation when you would apply this concept.
  8. Approximate: Before solving a multi-step problem, approximate the correct answer and explain your thinking.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

When students see math as a set of problems that have one single approach or answer, it can make math seem tiresome or boring at best, and unachievable at worst. Promoting an exploration-oriented approach to math will not only make math far more interesting, but it also will develop important analytical and flexible thinking skills for advanced math.

Best-suited for students with weaker: Long-term Memory, Metacognition, Working Memory, Processing Speed (Source: Digital Promise Learner Variability Project)