Exploring exponential growth in elementary school

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Understanding exponential growth is a fundamental aspect of developing critical numeracy skills; however, typically exponential growth is introduced in curriculum documents to secondary students. Moreover, such introductions tend to be in context of formal mathematical modelling, divorced from a sense of quantity. We argue that, given its importance, elementary-aged children should be provided with opportunities to explore exponential growth patterns, to develop an appreciation for the power of this idea. We put forward four principles of task design that should underpin the development of such learning experiences for elementary aged children, and introduce tasks that have been trialled in elementary classrooms that capture these principles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)989-994
Number of pages12
JournalMathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK-12
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • mathematics education
  • primary education
  • exponential growth
  • prediction
  • Visualisation
  • problem-solving
  • variation theory
  • realistic mathematics education

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