Developing Students' Mathematical Habits of Mind

E. Paul Goldenberg, EDC, Inc., June Mark, EDC, Inc., Jane M. Kang, EDC, Inc., Mary Fries, EDC, Inc., Cynthia J. Carter, The Rashi School,Tracy Cordner, EDC, Inc.
Foreword by Steven Leinwand

Every teacher wants to help students make sense of mathematics; but what if you could guide your students to expect mathematics to make sense? What if you could help them develop a deep understanding of the reasons behind its facts and methods?

In Making Sense of Algebra, the common misconception that algebra is simply a collection of rules to know and follow is debunked by delving into how we think about mathematics. This “habits of mind” approach is concerned not just with the results of mathematical thinking, but with how mathematically proficient students do that thinking. Making Sense of Algebra addresses developing this type of thinking in your students through:

  • using well-chosen puzzles and investigations to promote perseverance and a willingness to explore
  • seeking structure and looking for patterns that mathematicians anticipate finding—and using this to draw conclusions
  • cultivating an approach to authentic problems that are rarely as tidy as what is found in textbooks
  • allowing students to generate, validate, and critique their own and others’ ideas without relying on an outside authority.

Through teaching tips, classroom vignettes, and detailed examples, Making Sense of Algebra shows how to focus your instruction on building these key habits of mind, while inviting students to experience the clarity and meaning of mathematics—perhaps for the first time.