Not sure how to help your children with their homework? These questions and prompts are a good way to start:
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
- What are you solving for in the problem?
- Can you think of a problem that you have solved before that is like this one?
- Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
- Can you write or recall an expression or equation to match the problem situation?
- What do the numbers or variables in the equation refer to?
- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
- How do you know that your answer is correct?
- If I told you I think the answer should be (offer a wrong answer), how would you explain to me why I’m wrong?
- Model with mathematics.
- Do you know a formula or relationship that fits this problem situation?
- What does the number(s) in your solution refer to?
- Use appropriate tools strategically.
- What tools could you use to solve this problem? How can each one help you?
- Why is this tool (the one selected) better to use than (another tool mentioned)?
- Attend to precision.
- What do the symbols that you used mean?
- Explain to me (a term from the lesson).
- Look for and make use of structure.
- What do you notice about the answers to the exercises you’ve just completed?
- What do different parts of the expression or equation you are using tell you about possible correct answers?
- Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
- What shortcut can you think of that will always work for these kinds of problems?
- What pattern(s) do you see? Can you make a rule or generalization?
For even more questions to ask, download this parents' guide for developing math skills and visit the SFUSD Math Department website for further resources.
Take a look at how some of these practices have been implemented already in our classrooms:
Math image from Tim Geers, CC BY-SA 2.0