Chewing Your Way to Understanding


  • Dittika Gupta Midwestern State University
  • Suzanne F Lindt Midwestern State University
  • Diana Moss Appalachian State University


Helping upper elementary students to connect mathematical concepts to real world ideas is critical to their long-term conceptual understanding but can be challenging for teachers. This paper explains how 4th and 5th grade students were presented with a real-world mathematical task that was engaging, hands-on, and promoted reasoning and problem solving for students. The paper shares details of the activity, students’ discussions throughout the activity, including: their struggles, their reasoning, and their understanding resulting from their mathematical problem solving from the activity. 


Common Core State Standards Initiative [CCSSI]. (2010). Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM). Washington, DC: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Retrieved from

Lampert, M. (1990). When the problem is not the question and the solution is not the answer?: Mathematical knowing and teaching. American Educational Research Journal, 27(1), 29-63.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2000) Principles and standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2014) Principles to Action: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Yackel, E., & Cobb, P. (1994). The development of young children’s understanding of mathematical argumentation. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans.




How to Cite

Gupta, D., Lindt, S. F., & Moss, D. (2017). Chewing Your Way to Understanding. Ohio Journal of School Mathematics, 76(2). Retrieved from