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Read on to discover lessons, articles, videos, and more. We update the blog regularly to provide you with valuable and timely resources, so visit us often!

Place Value: How to Assess Students’ Understanding

by Marilyn Burns, Founder, Math Solutions
February 20th, 2019

If you’re familiar with Cooks Illustrated magazine, you know that they use their test kitchen to tinker with recipes and improve on them. In each issue, they report on all of the attempts they make and then finally present a recipe they recommend. In a way, I feel as if my search for a way to assess…

by Marilyn Burns, Founder, Math Solutions
January 18th, 2019

I struggle with how to teach topics that revert to learning procedures, too often without understanding. Take adding decimals. This is typically part of grade 5 math instruction. But every time I’ve given students the reminder to line up the decimal points and then add, I’m reminded of the fraction counterpart: Yours is not to…

Fractions on a Number Line

by Marilyn Burns, Founder, Math Solutions
February 16th, 2018

The fourth graders I’ve been working with had been studying fractions for about a week before I taught this lesson. They were using fraction pieces that they’d each cut for a beginning set of fractions—1 whole, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, and 1/16. Magnetic versions of their fraction pieces were especially useful for this lesson. (Information about…

An Important Teacher Decision: When and When Not to Give the Answer?

by Marilyn Burns, Founder, Math Solutions
February 02nd, 2018

The fourth graders I’ve been working with this year have recently been learning about fractions. Last week I began a lesson by drawing two representations on the board (as shown above) and writing a question. I gave the students about five minutes to do a “quick write” to answer the question and explain their thinking.…

Word Problems: Don’t Put the Cart Before the Horse

by Marilyn Burns, Founder, Math Solutions
September 16th, 2017

A long-standing instructional practice has been to teach students how to multiply (or add, subtract, or divide) and then, after the students have learned to compute, give them word problems to solve. In this post I present a lesson with a different approach, where word problems become the lead and reason for learning to compute.

Fix It: An Activity for Ordering Fractions

by Marilyn Burns, Founder, Math Solutions
January 20th, 2016

This post was originally published on Marilyn Burns’ Math Blog. Involving students as creators of problems for others to solve provides an experience for them that’s different from the teacher always being the source of problems. Also, when students have opportunities to solve their classmates’ problems, I find that they invest in their learning in a different way, often with…