How Might We Engage Our Learners in Looking for and Making Use of Structure?

2017 NCSM Annual Conference
March 2017

Session date/time:  4/3/17 at 11:15 am
By Jennifer Wilson

We want all of our learners to be able to say I can look for and make use of structure. But what if they can’t? What if they don’t know how?

Jill Gough and I have been working on leveled learning progressions for the Math Practices to provide a path for learners to reach the target when they don’t know where to start. Here is what we have started for I can look for and make use of structure.

How would you find the area of a square with a diagonal of 10?

What does drawing the square and a diagonal make visible?


What does drawing both diagonals make visible?



What does rotating the square make visible?


Looking for and making use of structure takes time (#SlowMath). It takes practice. It takes purposeful planning of tasks that provide students the opportunity to look for and make use of structure.

In this session, we will dig deeply into what it means to look for and make use of structure, and we will take the time to do some math together – sharing with, listening to, and learning from each other.

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