Elementary Mathematical Writing Task Force Recommendations: Implications for Research and Classroom Implementation

Learn about types of and purposes for elementary mathematical writing, and discuss implications for research and classroom implementation.


Although the mathematics education community long has emphasized the importance of discourse in teaching and learning mathematics, mathematical writing has not been clearly defined. Questions remain about how writing can leverage elementary students’ learning of mathematics. In October 2015, the Elementary Mathematical Writing Task Force came together and recommended four types of writing (exploratory, informative/explanatory, argumentative, and mathematically creative) and their respective purposes. The next steps in this new area of study are to have elementary teachers implement mathematical writing and for researchers to investigate its impact.

The goals for this session are to:

  1. provide participants with an overview of the Elementary Mathematical Writing Task Force’s premise and collaboration; and
  2. seek guidance on future directions, specifically, implications for research and classroom implementation.

After presenters introduce the background, context, and outcomes of the task force’s work, participants will engage with student work samples to identify their types and purposes and debrief with the whole group to clarify their understanding of them. Small groups will then identify considerations specific to teaching mathematics that need to be taken for each of the four types of writing and debrief as a whole group. Lastly, small groups will discuss implications for researchers and consider as a whole group lines of research related to mathematical writing that may be pursued.

Session Types