Nurturing Structural Thinking through Teacher-Facilitated Problem Solving


  • Xiangquan [James] Yao Pennsylvania State University


Problem solving, rich tasks, structural thinking


One essential goal of mathematics teaching is to develop the habit of mind and the ability to look for and recognize structures, to probe into and act upon structures, and to reason and justify in terms of general structures. Framed by the five practices for orchestrating productive mathematics discussions (Smith & Stein, 2011), this paper uses the Horse Rider problem as an example to illustrate how teachers can nurture student structural thinking through careful sequencing of mathematical tasks. 


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Smith, M. & Stein, M. (2011). Five practices for orchestrating productive mathematics discussions. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

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How to Cite

Yao, X. (2023). Nurturing Structural Thinking through Teacher-Facilitated Problem Solving . Ohio Journal of School Mathematics, 93(1), 27–33. Retrieved from




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