Exploratory Mathematics



In 21st century classrooms, we are seeing a major shift in mathematics education. With the invention of smartphones and accessibility to calculators and technology, the need to memorize basic mathematics facts and equations is no longer a priority. Instead, mathematics today is important so that students can develop a strong number sense, as well as the ability to problem solve and think critically. However, typical teacher led math instruction does not provide the conceptual understanding that todays students need to be successful in todays society, and often leads to student misconception and forgetting basic math knowledge that is learned in elementary school. In addition, this emphasis on memorization causes a negative stigma surrounding mathematics, and as a result leads to a lack of interest in mathematics, and any math professions (Darling Hammond, 2008, p. 122). Teachers need to shift their mathematics instruction to allow students to explore, reason, and problem solve, in order to allow for mathematics to become relevant and valued among today’s students.

Course overview

The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding for the need of exploratory math lessons in elementary classrooms, and to be able to create exploratory lessons to fit the needs of your classroom.

The following questions will guide the design of this course:

  • What is exploratory learning?
  • How does exploratory learning deepen students conceptual understanding of math concepts?
  • How can you create exploratory math lessons to fit the needs of your classroom?

Upon completion of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Explain the benefits of exploratory learning
  • Create exploratory lessons based on various math concepts
  • Implement an exploratory math lesson in their classroom

Unit 1: What is exploratory learning and why is it important?

Unit 1 objective: Learners will be able to understand the concept of exploratory learning and why it is important to student learning and understanding

Exploratory Mathematics Lesson 1

Objective: Learners will be able to define the components of an exploratory math lesson.

Exploratory Mathematics Lesson 2

Objective: Learners will be able to explain how exploratory learning deepens student understanding.

Unit 2: How can I create an exploratory math lesson to fit the needs of my classroom?

Unit 2 Objective: Learners will be able to create and teach an exploratory math lesson in their own classroom.

Exploratory Mathematics Lesson 3

Objective: Learners will be able to create an exploratory math lesson.

Exploratory Mathematics Lesson 4

Objective: Learners will be able to implement an exploratory math lesson into their classroom and reflect on student learning.

References and Resources

(2018). What is inquiry based learning? Retrieved from https://gradepowerlearning.com/what-is-inquiry-based-learning/

Darling-Hammond, L. et al. (2008). Powerful Learning: What We Know About Teaching for Understanding. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. (ISBN 978-0-470- 27667-9)

Egger, M. [Teaching Channel]. (2018). Facilitating Peer Learning [video file]. Retrieved from https://www.teachingchannel.org/video/peer-learning-between-students

Math Giraffe. (2015, August 12). 4 major benefits of inquiry lessons & how to use them to help your math students thrive. Retrieved from https://www.mathgiraffe.com/blog/4-major-benefits-of-inquiry-lessons-how-to-use-them-to-help-your-math-students-thrivents-thrive