Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 303–328 | Cite as

Posing complex problems requiring multiplicative thinking prompts students to use sophisticated strategies and build mathematical connections

  • Ann DowntonEmail author
  • Peter Sullivan


While the general planning advice offered to mathematics teachers seems to be to start with simple examples and build complexity progressively, the research reported in this article is a contribution to the body of literature that argues the reverse. That is, posing of appropriately complex tasks may actually prompt the use of more sophisticated strategies. Results are presented from a detailed study of young children working on tasks that prompt multiplicative thinking. It was found that the tasks involving more complex number triples prompted the use of more sophisticated multiplicative thinking.


Problem types Student strategies Multiplicative thinking Building mathematical connections 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education, Monash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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