|This poster is available for download in my TPT store.|
A high level of thinking is achieved by simply solving a complex math algorithm. However, we can take it a step further by including metacognition in the mix and having students articulate their thinking in writing. This brings me to the math thinking stem!
The Math Thinking Stem
The math thinking stem is similar to the reading stem in that it encourages students to use their thinking skills for a specific purpose. These skills include: schema, inferences, predictions, comparisons, visualizations, questioning, and more. In math, the thinking stem forces students to look closely at the math skill they are learning, and really pick it apart for analysis. Even 2nd graders can do it! Here is an example of a math thinking stem:
We are learning about place value. When you use place value, you break numbers down into hundreds, tens, and ones. You can use it to understand numbers. For example, 200+20+3 equals 223. That is the same as 2 hundreds, 2 tens, and 3 ones. I can visualize the base ten blocks showing 223. I predict it will help me when I add and subtract. I infer place value can show even bigger numbers because you can add more blocks. Place value is fun!
The thinking stem not only encourages their higher level thinking, it exercises writing skills and helps students see that thinking and learning skills are applicable in all subjects!
With this in mind, I've created a math thinking stem guide for students and teachers. Follow this link if you would like the downloadable file at my TPT Store. I use the thinking stem in math stations every week! Enjoy.