Math Background

Justifying Answers: Tips and Tricks

  • “Why?” “How?” and “What are you thinking?” are valuable questions. Ask these questions often and follow up with time for children to explain their reasoning.
  • Use open-ended questions to begin discussions.
  • Encourage children to explain their thinking in their own words and encourage them to give a rationale for their response: “I did this because….” You want children to become risk takers in their thinking.
  • On a large sheet of paper, write a list of questions that children should ask themselves as they work through problems. Post it for all to use.
  • Provide hints rather than solutions as children work. Also be a good listener, instead of giving immediate evaluation. You want to encourage children to tell their ideas.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 1