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Megan H. Wickstrom

Preservice elementary teachers (PSTs) often enter their teacher preparation programs with procedural and underdeveloped understandings of area measurement and its applications. This is problematic given that area and the area model are used throughout K–Grade 12 to develop flexibility in students’ mathematical understanding and to provide them with a visual interpretation of numerical ideas. This study describes an intervention aimed at bolstering PSTs’ understanding of area and area units with respect to measurement and number and operations. Following the intervention, results indicate that PSTs had both an improved ability to solve area tiling tasks as well as increased flexibility in the strategies they implemented. The results indicate that PSTs, similar to elementary students, develop a conceptual understanding of area from the use of tangible tools and are able to leverage visualizations to make sense of multiplicative structure across different strategies.

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Deanna Pecaski McLennan

For the Love of Mathematics

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Amanda K. Riske, Catherine E. Cullicott, Amanda Mohammad Mirzaei, Amanda Jansen, and James Middleton

We introduce the Into Math Graph tool, which students use to graph how “into" mathematics they are over time. Using this tool can help teachers foster conversations with students and design experiences that focus on engagement from the student’s perspective.

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Atara Shriki and Dorit Patkin

Success in STEM fields depends largely on robust spatial skills, in particular on the ability to perform a mental rotation. Given that this ability can be nurtured, this article includes examples of diverse relevant tasks appropriate for grades 6–8 students.

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Sarah Brand, Hyunyi Jung, Ashley Dorlack, and Samuel Gailliot

Five teacher discussion strategies and outcomes of students’ responses to each are illustrated with examples.

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Each month Asked & Answered highlights selected threads from the MyNCTM community. MyNCTM is an online community where NCTM members can ask questions, start and join discussions, and interact with education experts. We encourage you to join the conversation at https://my.nctm.org.

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Sean P. Yee, George J. Roy, and LuAnn Graul

As mathematical patterns become more complex, students' conditional reasoning skills need to be nurtured so that students continue to critique, construct, and persevere in making sense of these complexities. This article describes a mathematical task designed around the online version of the game Mastermind to safely foster conditional reasoning.

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Micah S. Stohlmann

An escape room can be a great way for students to apply and practice mathematics they have learned. This article describes the development and implementation of a mathematical escape room with important principles to incorporate in escape rooms to help students persevere in problem solving.

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The Asked & Answered department shares excerpts from discussion threads on the online MyNCTM community. In this issue, featured threads highlight responses to members' questions related to mathematical depth in preschool, spiral review in the upper elementary grades, ideas for differentiation in middle school, and projects for high school algebra.

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Amber G. Candela, Melissa D. Boston, and Juli K. Dixon

We discuss how discourse actions can provide students greater access to high quality mathematics. We define discourse actions as what teachers or students say or do to elicit student contributions about a mathematical idea and generate ongoing discussion around student contributions. We provide rubrics and checklists for readers to use.