# Learning to reason in an informal math after-school program

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## Abstract

This research was conducted during an after-school partnership between a University and school district in an economically depressed, urban area. The school population consists of 99% African American and Latino students. During an the informal after-school math program, a group of 24 6th-grade students from a low socioeconomic community worked collaboratively on open-ended problems involving fractions. The students, in their problem solving discussions, coconstructed arguments and provided justifications for their solutions. In the process, they questioned, corrected, and built on each other’s ideas. This paper describes the types of student reasoning that emerged in the process of justifying solutions to the problems posed. It illustrates how the students’ arguments developed over time. The findings of this study indicate that, within an environment that invites exploration and collaboration, students can be engaged in defending their reasoning in both their small groups and within the larger community. In the process of justifying, they naturally build arguments that take the form of proof.

## Keywords

School Mathematics Mathematical Reasoning Counter Argument Mathematical Community Overhead Projector## Preview

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