Improving Mathematical Reasoning in Students

By | March 5, 2019

how to improve mathematical thinking

In truth, math is a really beautiful thing. A lot of concepts and possibilities that we know today won’t have been possible without the innovation of some brilliant minds. However, these minds needed a medium through which they could translate their ideas to reality.

That medium was math.

Over the years, we have seen a lot of technological and artistic advancements come to life due to the progress and simplification of math. However, due to the perceived complexity that is involved in math, a lot of students have developed a fear of the subject and are now living their lives trying to get away from it.

To wit, teachers are faced with the problem of helping to improve the quality with which math is being taught, all with an aim of making it seem simpler to students.

There are actually a lot of ways through which you, the teacher, can improve the appeal of math to your students. Here are a few of them:

Ask them questions

The most important way to teach math is to make your students provide justifications of the solutions they arrive at. If they are able to explain how they arrived at their answers, then they will have no issues with identifying the kind of logical reasoning that was involved in discovering their answers as well.

For instance, imagine you ask the question:

12 + Y= 15 + 73

Of course, there are various ways to get this.

A student can subtract 12 from 15 to get 3, so getting the numbers complete would be easy from there. So, following this reasoning, a student will be able to conclude that to get the answer, you just add 3 to 73.


Since X is what you get when you subtract 12 from the sum of 15 and 73, a student can make that addition, get 88, and subtract 12 from that number to get the answer.

The point is this; as much as possible, get your students to explain their methods. Also, ensure that they show al their workings to assignments so as to better understand their methods.

Apply geometric proving

Geometric proofs are applications of math as well. They require that students put down their thoughts in geometric problems, and they can be very helpful.

Then, in a separate column, students are made to prove the veracity of the statements made.

Thanks to geometric proofs, students are able to problems in tiny increments, as opposed to breezing through issues without giving them much thought. This way, proofs help students to better understand the logic that goes into solving problems.

Foster inter-student collaborations

If you are to help your students with boosting their reasoning, you can just as well pair them in groups and have them collaborate. A lot of SAT preps in Lafayette have come to understand that when various students work together, they will be able to come up with their answers, have discussions, and brainstorm on the right solutions.

They’ll also be able to analyze and criticize each other constructively, all with an aim of coming up with the right answers.

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