Writing in Mathematics (page 2)
The idea of incorporating writing in mathematics simultaneously addresses both the Communication standard and the Connections standard set forth by the NCTM. Students may write to explain how they solved a problem, to explain why an answer makes sense, or to record the progress of an ongoing problem situation. Writing may be used to explain a solution or a concept, or may be reflective. Writing may be done in a journal or notebook or on loose paper. Many standardized exams and proficiency tests include problems for which a student must write to explain an answer or solution process.
You may wish to use writing prompts or stems to facilitate the writing process. Some examples of writing prompts include the following:
Reflective: What is your favorite number? Give reasons for your choice.
Explanatory: Explain your strategy in the Roll for $1.00 game.
Concept Assessment: What do you know about multiplication?
Some related writing stems are
My favorite number is ____. This is my favorite number because...
My strategy in the Race for $1.00 game was to...
Multiplication helps you solve the problem ____ because...
Instruct students to write a word problem to fill in the blank.
Unless teachers at previous grade levels have encouraged writing in mathematics, your students may be unfamiliar with how to proceed and may need encouragement. Children at the prekindergarten to first-grade level can be encouraged to draw pictures to explain an answer or solution process. There are several excellent resources available that provide more details on incorporating writing into mathematics.
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