Posing complex problems requiring multiplicative thinking prompts students to use sophisticated strategies and build mathematical connections

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While the general planning advice offered to mathematics teachers seems to be to start with simple examples and build complexity progressively, the research reported in this article is a contribution to the body of literature that argues the reverse. That is, posing of appropriately complex tasks may actually prompt the use of more sophisticated strategies. Results are presented from a detailed study of young children working on tasks that prompt multiplicative thinking. It was found that the tasks involving more complex number triples prompted the use of more sophisticated multiplicative thinking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-328
Number of pages26
JournalEducational Studies in Mathematics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Building mathematical connections
  • Multiplicative thinking
  • Problem types
  • Student strategies

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