Mathematical Agency

This session will focus on mathematical agency and flexible thinking from students–why they are so important for students to meet our goals, and methods we can use to increase them. A substantial portion of the session will involve reflecting on your own classroom, so it is essential that you arrive with complete pre-work:

For one class period, record any instances where your students are exposed to multiple potential ways of solving the same problem (either because you shared multiple solution methods, or because other students are sharing other methods).

Bring to the session notes that indicate:

  1. What problem or task students were working on.
  2. The different methods that students saw that could help on this problem.
  3. Connections or comparisons, if any, that are made between the methods. This might include discussing features of a problem that might suggest when a specific strategy is more useful; comparing advantages and disadvantages or comparing the efficiency of each strategy; or a discussion about the mathematical ideas that connect each strategy.

It may be helpful to record video of your class to refer to later, or to have another person observe and take notes for you.

The following template may be helpful for taking notes.

What problem or task were students doing…

What different methods did students see?

What comparisons between methods did students see?


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