Elementary Mathematical Arguments

Stakeholders identify higher-level cognition and communication as skills critical to the 21st century, STEM-capable workforce. These skills are reflected in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics shift. Mathematical arguments have been shown to predict improved mathematical cognition and are a Standard for Mathematical Practice that teachers must develop in students. The Elementary Mathematical Arguments: A Guide to Using Metacognition and Screencast Technology to Support Students unit was created to address this challenge answering the question: What might a set of instructional strategies and tools look like to support second grade students’ development of mathematical arguments, in a Southern California classroom? Literature reviewing metacognition, mathematical arguments, and screencast technologies, provided a foundation for the unit’s curricular materials. The unit encompasses three distinct parts implemented over 12 lessons, including standards, learning objectives, assessments, and teacher instructional steps. The first part, screencasts, provides a means to capture student metacognition and mathematical arguments. Part 2, metacognition, directly teaches and provides tools to support metacognitive phases of problem solving. Mathematical arguments, part 3, provides language supports for justifying mathematical thinking using a model and explanation. Students participate in self-assessment and peer interaction throughout the unit to support cognitive and metacognitive understanding. This unit could be further developed to include all Standards for Mathematical Practice. It could also serve as a tool for further research on student generated screencasts. This project provides teachers with tools to develop students’ mathematical arguments addressing some of the skills necessary to join today’s workforce.