July Challenge #10 Writing in the Math Classroom


Great post by Bridget Dunbar! Writing in Math Class

Reflections in the Plane

Many years ago I read the book Writing to Develop Mathematical Understanding by David Pugalee.  I want to use this post to record some of the important points.

Pugalee wrote that

“The goal of writing in mathematics is to engage students in ways that require them to think deeply about the mathematics they are encountering.”

He suggested that, writing, or more generally, communication, happens along a continuum.


This continuum “is not about writing ability but about the level of cognitive engagement of the student.”

He offers many practical suggestions for incorporating writing into the daily routine of math classrooms.

Beginning of the lesson suggestions (pages 36-38):

  • Use a prompt such as “Write what you know about ________.”
  • Have students write a short description of how they solved a particular homework problem.

Middle of the lesson suggestions:

  • Have students write an example or draw a diagram or other illustration to…

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