Observing Student Connections
 Introduction | Cutting Squares | Problem Reflection #1 | Designing a Paper Quilt | Problem Reflection #2 | Classroom Practice | Observe a Classroom | Reflection Questions | Your Journal
"When students can connect mathematical ideas, their understanding is deeper and more lasting. They can see mathematical connections in the rich interplay among mathematical topics, in contexts that relate mathematics to other subjects, and in their own interests and experience."

(NCTM, 2000, p. 64)

As we look at the Connections Standard, we will consider several aspects of connections in mathematics learning and teaching. We want students to recognize that mathematical concepts connect and build on one another. For example, students begin to develop deeper insights into the ideas of subtraction when their experiences with this operation highlight the relationship between addition and subtraction. Additionally, we should consider the connections of mathematics to other subject areas as well as to applications in the world outside the classroom.

Mathematics instruction that focuses on the relationships between different ideas helps students understand those ideas better and use mathematics to solve problems. If the mathematical tasks we provide are embedded in real-world settings, young students see mathematics as part of their everyday experience, rather than an isolated subject they study in school.

We begin with two examples of student work for you to consider. As you observe these problems, look for the connections among mathematical ideas, to other subject areas, and to everyday experiences.

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