How Do You Know? Help Students Build Math Justifications

April 27, 2017

Part of building mathematical communications skills includes the ability to build justifications. Math practice standards call for students to not only figure out the problem, but communicate how they solved it, and why their answer is correct -- using evidence.

The challenges

Developing these skills is important, but it’s not always easy. Using math language and putting understanding into words can be difficult. And, it can be challenging as a teacher to let students stumble through their thinking instead of giving them the answer.

Classworks can help!

Use Classworks Applied Mathematics to support your math instruction. Applied Math activities allow for flexibility in the way students communicate their ideas.

  • Scaffold math communication skills using Applied Math digital tools. If students are still working on improving math writing skills, have them record their justification using the audio recording tool. They can transcribe their recording to improve their comfort level with writing. Drawing their justification is also an option.
  • Prepare using the Applied Math teacher resources included in each lesson. Review the sample student responses provided to set expectations for student justifications with each concept.
  • View students’ work in real-time and provide personalized feedback to help them move beyond the “how” to the “why” in their justifications.

Try it

Applied Math activities include lessons for K-8. Not sure how to get started? Here are a couple of videos to help: Differentiated ProblemCritique and Precision Problem. Or, use this 3rd-grade lesson plan for guidance.

*Information from NCTM session presented by Nicora Placa

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