Reading in Mathematics
Reconnecting with Our Mathematicians
In the classroom videos you have seen, the students are making sense of mathematics in ways that reflect the authentic work of mathematicians. Mathematicians are regularly called upon to read and make sense of a range of mathematical problems that they often are seeing for this first time. They need to be able to determine what those problems are asking, identify what mathematics they might draw on as they explore possible solutions, and consider whether the solution they identify is justifiable and indeed does make sense. They need to be able to do this work collaboratively, with colleagues who are pursing similar mathematical questions, as well as independently. This is true for applied mathematicians who are using mathematics to find solutions for problems in the real world, often as part of a team, where a variety of perspectives are shared and discussed as the problem is addressed. This is also true for theoretical mathematicians who are working on rich mathematical problems that advance the field, sometimes working alone, but also talking with colleagues interested in similar mathematical questions or drawing on the published mathematical work addressing related problems.
An important question is how teachers might provide structured opportunities for students to read and make sense of a range of mathematical problems that they too may be seeing for the first time. How do the teachers in these videos organize and engage students in these structured opportunities? How do the protocols that are designed to offer support for reading and sense making do so? As you contemplate this question, it is important to keep in mind that there are times when students may need to read and make sense of mathematical text on their own as well as in collaboration with classmates and teachers. How do these strategies and protocols help students develop the expertise to also be able to do this work independently?
As you consider what you have seen in these videos, and as you reflect on your own experiences with the interactive protocols provided, consider how you can use what you are exploring here to support the engagement of your own students in the disciplinary literacy practice of reading and making sense of mathematical texts on an ongoing basis.
Continue to Unit 7 – Writing in Mathematics