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Mathematize It! [Grades K-2]
Going Beyond Key Words to Make Sense of Word Problems, Grades K-2

- Kimberly Morrow-Leong
- Sara Delano Moore - Mathematics Consultant
- Linda M. Gojak - Mathematics Consultant, NCTM Past-President

*“This book is a must-have for anyone who has faced the challenge of teaching problem solving. The ideas to be learned are supported with a noticeably rich collection of classroom-ready problems, examples of student thinking, and videos. Problem solving is at the center of learning and doing mathematics. And so, *Mathematize It!* should be at the center of every teacher’s collection of instructional resources.”*

John SanGiovanni

Coordinator, Elementary Mathematics

Howard County Public School System, Ellicott City, MD

**Help** **students reveal the math behind the words**

“I don’t get what I’m supposed to do!” This is a common refrain from students when asked to solve word problems.

Solving problems is about more than computation. Students must understand the mathematics of a situation to know what computation will lead to an appropriate solution. Many students often pluck numbers from the problem and plug them into an equation using the first operation they can think of (or the last one they practiced). Students also tend to choose an operation by solely relying on key words that they believe will help them arrive at an answer, which without careful consideration of what the problem is actually asking of them.

** Mathematize It! Going Beyond Key Words to Make Sense of Word Problems, Grades K-2** shares a reasoning approach that helps students dig into the problem to uncover the underlying mathematics, deeply consider the problem’s context, and employ strong operation sense to solve it. Through the process of

*mathematizing*, the authors provide an explanation of a consistent method—and specific instructional strategies—to take the initial focus off specific numbers and computations and put it on the actions and relationships expressed in the problem.

Sure to enhance teachers’ own operation sense, this user-friendly resource for Grades K-2

· Offers a systematic mathematizing process for students to use when solving word problems

· Gives practice opportunities and dozens of problems to leverage in the classroom

· Provides specific examples of questions and explorations for addition and subtraction of whole numbers as well as early thinking for multiplication and division

· Demonstrates the use of concrete manipulatives to model problems with dozens of short videos

· Includes end-of-chapter activities and reflection questions

How can you help your students understand what is happening mathematically when solving word problems? *Mathematize it! *

## Free resources

### Moving From Counting to Addition and Subtraction

This excerpt from chapter two of *Mathematize It!, Grades K-2 * explains how to move from counting to adding and subracting.

### Why You Need to Teach Students to Mathematize

This excerpt from chapter one of *Mathematize It!, Grades K-2* introduces why you should teach students to mathematize.

“One of the most important goals of K–2 math education should be developing a robust understanding of addition and subtraction that can serve as a foundation for later learning. In Mathematize It! Morrow-Leong, Moore, and Gojak help teachers transform solving word problems from an activity focused on getting answers to an activity that supports students’ understanding of the mathematical principles of the operations. Teaching

suggestions are integrated throughout the book in a manner that allows teachers to make adaptations to meet the needs of their students. This book belongs on every primary grade teachers’ bookshelf.”

**Director, CGI Math Teacher Learning Center, LLC**

“Kim Morrow-Leong, Sara Delano Moore, and Linda Gojak have written an essential guide for teachers of grade K–2 mathematics—both those new to the field and those with many years of experience. Read this book and learn how to help students develop a deep understanding of the mathematical principles behind each operation—in other words, effectively help students learn to mathematize problem situations.”

**Elementary Education Consultant, Reston, VA**

“Help your students get into the messy fun of true problem solving, where the goal is to make sense of the world—not just arrive at an answer! Mathematize It! will engage you in the nuance and power of teaching through context. You’ll be surprised and delighted by the student examples, inspired by the teacher commentary, and ready to craft story problems that uncover the big ideas of your grade.”

**UCLA Mathematics Project (University of California, Los Angeles Mathematics Project)**

“Mathematize It! is a must-have resource for teachers and teacher leaders. In this comprehensive resource the authors not only introduce a new verb—mathematize—to the primary teacher’s vocabulary, they also provide teachers with a ‘go-to guide’ for teaching problem solving. Features such as the Mathematizing Sandbox as a problem-solving model, the emphasis on the use of multiple representations, and the integration of children’s literature provide teachers with instructional tools to help students develop a strong operation sense.”

**Elementary Mathematics Instructional Specialist, Baton Rouge, LA**

“The list of generational math books to come along and truly synthesize what we know so far and what we need to know is a very short and exclusive list. Well, you can confidently add Mathematize It! to this collection. Written by three of the most respected math educators today, the book zeros in on that often poorly traveled journey between the question and answer in problem solving. Mathematize It! will be your go-to resource to install the mathematical play revolution in elementary classes everywhere!”

**Author of Pi of Life: The Hidden Happiness of Mathematics and Math Recess: Playful Learning in an Age of Disruption**

“Mathematize It! is a must-read for anyone who has struggled to teach word problems and is ready to figure out what really works. The authors present a plethora of strategies that help students focus on the thinking part of the problem-solving process while gently helping the reader understand that so many of our ‘tried-and-true’ methods, such as key words, really don’t work. They help us realize that the real work of solving word problems is in the sense-making phase—once students have made sense of a problem, calculating the solution is the simpler part of the process.”

**National Board Certified Teacher Co-Founder & CEO, KP Mathematics**

“Mathematize It! addresses the complexity of problem solving more completely than any other individual resource. It is easy to say that we must teach students to ‘mathematize situations’ but this book helps us to actually help students learn to do it. The challenge and reflection pieces at the end of each chapter are a game changer for unveiling teaching opportunities, prompting discussion in your PLC, and moving this from a book on the professional shelf to a powerful tool to impact instruction.”

**Math Interventionist and MTSS Coordinator Metcalf Elementary School, Exeter, RI Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Awardee, Former Member of the NCTM Board of Directors**

“Mathematize It! is a book that should be on the shelf of every classroom teacher and division leader who supports mathematics teaching and leading. This valuable resource helps educators to think about the what, why, and the how to make sense of word problems. It gives a framework and visuals on how to support teachers’ understanding around problem types and solving problems and excels in assisting teachers in how to make a commitment to teaching for greater understanding.”

**Past President, Virginia Council for Mathematics Supervision (VCMS), Mathematics Specialist for Virginia Council of Teacher of Mathematics (VCTM)**

“This is a game changer . . . even after 20 years of supporting students and their sensemaking of word problems, I am thrilled to learn even more from this trio of authors. They offer practical suggestions, opportunities for practice, and relevant research in order to increase awareness of best practices surrounding word problems. The only key word in this case is MATHEMATIZE! To have this resource in your hands is to have an invitation to the ‘mathematizing sandbox’.”

**Mathematics Coach, 2004 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Awardee, Riffa Views International School, Bahrain**

“This dynamic author trio brings years of classroom experiences to one of the central problems of teaching and learning mathematics: making sense of word problems. Focusing on the construct of ‘mathematizing’—drawing, constructing, describing, representing, and making sense of situations—

this clear and practical guide needs to be required reading and discussion fodder for every elementary teacher of mathematics. It’s just that clear, informative, and insightful!”

**Principal Researcher American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC**