# Math Strategies and Algorithms: Great to Teach in Guided Math Groups

The new Math Common Core stresses the use of different strategies and algorithms. I am going to be writing about this for the next few days because it is crucial to the new NBT Domain. Let’s start by talking about strategies and algorithms. A strategy is an approach to doing something. An algorithm is a step by step procedure for doing something that often involves repeating the steps throughout the process.

I think it is important to note that there is no one way to do something but there are efficient and inefficient strategies. According to the new Math Common Core, students should know BOTH – strategies and algorithms. And teachers should know both:) AND STUDENTS SHOULD LEARN A VARIETY OF STRATEGIES BEFORE THEY LEARN THE TRADITIONAL ALGORITHM…AHA…How many strategies and algorithms do you have to teach the 4 basic operations in your pocket right now? You should have at least 3 for each operation.

I strongly recommend that you allow students to discuss their different approaches in guided math groups so that you can scaffold approaches and really get to listen to students talk about their mathematical thinking. There is a long going debate about whether to teach them or let them emerge. I think you should do both. I think you should elicit strategies from students as well as share strategies with them.

Here is a well written paper on algorithms. (PLEASE READ IT. IT IS A VERY INFORMATIVE DISCUSSION AND DISCUSSES MUCH OF THE RESEARCH).

Here is a handbook that a school district made about it.

MUST SEE VIDEOS FROM THE SCHULTZ CENTER!

We will look at a variety of resources throughout the week.

Please share your thoughts about algorithms.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

I am looking forward to the next few posts regarding strategies and algorithms. It is going to take a little time to read and view the resources you suggested, but I think there is a delicate balance between when to stress stragegy and when to present an algorithm. Since I am in the process of writing an Understanding by Design Algebra unit, algorithms are not the focal point – strategy and conceptual development of the students is vital. I will comment about algorithms after I look at the material in this post. Can’t wait. Thanks for your insight.

LisaAugust 21, 2011