Observing Student Representations
 Introduction | Building Viewpoints | Student Work Reflection #1 | More Building Viewpoints | Student Work Reflection #2 | Observe a Classroom | Classroom Practice | Your Journal
"The ways in which mathematical ideas are represented is fundamental to how people can understand and use those ideas. . . . When students gain access to mathematical representations and the ideas they represent, they have a set of tools that significantly expand their capacity to think mathematically."

## (NCTM, 2000, p 67)

In the middle grades, as students solve a variety of problems, they will use representations to organize and record their thinking. As students begin to study more abstract concepts, it is important for them to represent their ideas in ways that make sense to them. The role of the teacher is to introduce students to conventional forms of representation as students develop an understanding of the concepts. This facilitates both learning mathematics and communicating with others about mathematical ideas.

We begin with two examples of student work for you to consider. As you observe these problems, think about how the students are representing their thinking about a three-dimensional object using a two-dimensional plan.

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