Education Technology

Understanding Students’ Ways of Thinking in Mathematics

March 3, 2022

Session overview

Mathematics educators are tasked with ensuring that students learn the standards of the state and are prepared for the mathematics of the next grade or course. But amongst the daily learning targets, several “big ideas” of mathematics are present and pervasive and sometimes lost as teachers focus on the skills and knowledge of a specific lesson.

A collection of “Formative Conversation Starters” has been developed to assist educators in getting deeper into the underlying, cross-grade level concepts that are crucial for student learning of mathematics. With intentional probing questions tied to a rich mathematical task, teachers can uncover students’ current thinking about these important mathematical ideas, and use what they learn to shape the opportunities that bring the student along in their learning.

In this session of the TI STEM Exchange, the developers of these tools shared their design, effective use, and impact on teaching and learning.

Session attendees:

  • Learned about the purpose of the Formative Conversation Starters and how they might apply in their own settings

  • Heard from educators who are implementing this resource and the impact it has had on their teaching and their students’ learning
  • Considered applications of the tools to support students’ developing understandings and ways of thinking about big mathematical ideas

Learn from our panel of professionals

Peter McLaren

National Science Consultant
Next Gen Education, LLC

Photograph of Mary Pittman

Mary Pittman, Ph. D.

Director at TNTP

Photograph of Tammy Baumann

Tammy Baumann, Ph. D.

Mathematics Content Director

Photograph of Ted Coe

Ted Coe, Ph. D.

Director of Content Advocacy
and Design at NWEA


Who should attend?

  • Math educators for grades 4-12
  • School and district leaders who support math educators for grades 4-12


Please contact Wendy Peel, or 214.405.2779.