This study investigated attributes of 278 instances of student mathematical thinking during whole-class interactions that were identified as having high potential, if made the object of discussion, to foster learners’ understanding of important mathematical ideas. Attributes included the form of the thinking (e.g., question vs. declarative statement), whether the thinking was based on earlier work or generated in the moment, the accuracy of the thinking, and the type of thinking (e.g., sense-making). Findings illuminate the complexity of identifying student thinking worth building on during whole-class discussion and provide insight into important attributes of these high potential instances that could be used to help teachers more easily recognize them. Implications for researching, learning, and enacting the teaching practice of building on student mathematical thinking are discussed.
Van Zoest, L. R., Stockero, S. L., Leatham, K. R., Peterson, B. E., Atanga, N. A., & Ochieng, M. A. (2017). Attributes of instances of student mathematical thinking that are worth building on in whole-class discussion. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 19(1), 33-54, DOI: 10.1080/10986065.2017.1259786