Top Ten SOS to Develop Mathematical Thinking

math students

Welcome to our special Top Ten series on SOS in the classroom. This month we’re highlighting some of the most popular ways to use Spotlight on Strategies to develop Mathematical Thinking.



Mathematicians are not grown through rote memorization of processes and algorithms, but through the development of skills involving logic, problem solving, reasoning and strategy. Effective mathematicians are able to analyze information, draw conclusions, find ways to represent ideas and use those representations to communicate their learning with others.

Though not specifically set aside as strategies that teach math content here are some of our favorite SOS that develop process and communication skills to bolster your students’ mathematical thinking this year.

Build Logical Thinking Use SOS Get in Line (CDN Version) or SOS Concept Circles (CDN Version) to teach students how to organize information in a logical progression or analyze parts of a problem to better understand the whole.  
Strategize and Solve Problems Use SOS Yes/No/Maybe So (CDN Version) or SOS Get Your Thinking Hat On (CDN Version) to help students think through what’s involved in a math problem, generate possible strategies and predict which is most likely to produce a correct solution.
Justify and Provide Reasoning for Mathematical Solutions Use strategies such as SOS Pick a Card, Any Card (CDN Version) or SOS Let’s Roll (CDN Version) to give students multiple interesting and engaging opportunities to practice justifying and providing reasoning for their solutions. Both of these strategies allow teachers to guide student practice in a flexible way.
Draw Conclusions and Make Connections Use strategies such as SOS Connect the Dots (CDN Version) or SOS Silence is Golden (CDN Version) to provide opportunities for students to connect mathematics with their own experiences, making the math relevant and timely to students.
Represent & Communicate Mathematical Conclusions Use strategies such as SOS Make It Concrete (CDN Version) or SOS The Envelope Please to help students synthesize the mathematical terms and concepts they’re learning.


Try one of these strategies in your math instruction and let us know how it worked for your students in the comments below!



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  4. Shubham said:

    This article will help students a lot to increase mathematical thinking.
    This article is one of the best article I have ever seen on building mathematical thinking.

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  6. Debbie said:

    Thank you for compiling this list of strategies found to be effective in the math classroom! I love sharing these strategies with math educators in my school!

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