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Why Building Concepts is a Problem-Solver for Inquiry-Based Math

Why Building Concepts is a Problem-Solver for Inquiry-Based Math

Ensuring math makes sense, concept building with classroom experiences in which students use relatable objects, drawings, conceptual language, and real-world situations helps students build mathematical ideas.

Building Concepts is a crucial component of an effective mathematics classroom, according to research.  Findings show it impacts math learning and teaching by helping students develop deep conceptual understanding while they practice, apply, and discuss what they know with skill and confidence.

Making Connections 
It is necessary for meaningful supports to be linked to formal mathematics notation, language, and methods. Once this link is solid, students find meaning in formal mathematics. 

How can teachers help students build this connection between information mathematical ideas and formal mathematics? Research shows that when students use mathematical language and drawings to explain their thinking, they build conceptual understanding, make sense of quantities and their relationships in problem situations, make generalizations, and reason abstractly. 

With this major structure as part of its base, Math Expressions supports concept building and the mathematical approaches of the mathematical Processes and Practices.


Five Core Structures
Helping Community is one of five research-based components that are the organizational touchstones of the Math Expressions program. These Five Core Structures also include Building Concepts, Math Talk, Student Leaders, and Quick Practice.

These structures are not static. They are interactive. They work together and support one another. The research project that spearheaded its development found that using the Five Core Structures in the classroom enables children from all backgrounds to learn mathematics with understanding, fluency, and confidence.

With over ten years of development and funding from the National Science Foundation, Math Expressions is a research-based Kindergarten–Grade 6 elementary mathematics program. Its inquiry-based approach drives active instruction, student engagement, and proven results.

To learn how Math Expressions helps schools build confidence and elevate learning to ensure sense-making in math, download the program overview for more on what’s included.

Topics: Mathematics, Community, Math, Methods, Math@Heinemann, Heinemann Math, Math Expressions, Teaching Math

Date Published: 07/12/23

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