Hands-On Cooperative Tasks in Mathematics Classrooms

clownsuitWorking cooperatively with hands-on materials in the mathematics classroom can certainly generate excitement among your students-- the trick is to keep it channeled into the mathematical task at hand. Here are some guidelines that increase the chances that their excitement will lead to greater math comprehension.

 

  • The hands-on component adds to or enhances students' mathematical understanding.
     
  • The task is designed such that there is added-value from working cooperatively.
     
  • The task's objective(s) is/are clear to students before they begin working.
     
  • The materials required are organized for group use before class begins.
     
  • The groups are pre-determined by the teacher or by a randomized process.
     
  • Students are expected (and reminded) to be engaged in the task and the mathematical thinking it is designed to promote.
     
  • The teacher considers in advance the ways in which students might approach the task and plans supportive interventions (e.g., questions, prompts) for potential trouble-spots.

 

Strategies Reflection:

  • Which strategies are already part of your instructional repertoire? Which do you need to find out more about?
  • As you think back on this module and the instructional strategies modeled, what are the implications for your work with students?
  • What are your next steps with regards to trying a new instructional strategy?