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April 2009, Volume 15, Issue 8

FEATURES

Why Are Things Shaped the Way They Are?
David Whiten, Phyllis Whiten
Important geometric concepts embedded in the shape and design of natural and manufactured objects. The Whitins first describe fourth graders exploring why manhole covers are circles. Then the authors offer a range of activities to demonstrate how inquiring about shape in botany, geology, biology, and industry can effectively integrate science and mathematics and foster a life-long spirit of inquiry. 

More than Just Number
Carmen Brown
To build on and encourage children’s natural curiosities about shapes and their connection to the real world, early childhood learning environments should be constructed to support geometric thinking. Adults can provide opportunities for children to explore materials, engage in activities, and work in collaboration with peers and teachers to construct their own knowledge of the world around them. 

The Goal of Long Division
John Martin Jr.
Martin describes student thinking that should be developed to facilitate their understanding of answers resulting from division. Keys to this understanding include the role of place value in the quotient and the power of multiples of ten in determining the quotient.

Using Student Work to Learn about Teaching
Marilee Cameron, Jenine Loesing, Vickie Rorvig, Kathryn Chval
Analyzing student work can help teachers improve the teaching and learning of mathematics. This article describes professional development activities related to examining students’ addition strategies in grades K–5.

Teaching Fractions
Laura McLeman, Heather Cavell
The creation and implementation of a module in a mathematics-for-teaching course that was centered on children’s written work and verbal explanations. The goal of the module was to support the development of preservice elementary teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching fractions (MKTF).