Thinking Like a Mathematician

Mary-Lyons Walk Hanks, Jennifer K. Lampert, and Katherine Plum

Thinking Like a Mathematician focuses on high-interest, career-related topics in the elementary curriculum related to mathematics. Students will explore interdisciplinary content, foster creativity, and develop higher order thinking skills with activities aligned to relevant content area standards. Students will engage in exploration activities, complete mathematical callenges, and then apply what they have learned by making real-world connections. Thinking Like a Mathematician reflects key emphases of curricula from the Center for Gifted Education at William & Mary, including the development of process skills in various content areas and the enhancement of discipline-specific thinking and habits of mind through hands-on activities.

You may download the additional biography resources for this book below. (Note: These resources are available here for individual or single classroom use only. Please visit our copyright permissions page to learn more about our copyright policies.)

Supplemental Biographies of Famous Mathematicians

The authors have developed a set of biographies of famous mathematicians. Each biography’s content is linked to one of the units. Asking students to think like a mathematician requires an awareness of the many facets of the field. The biographies highlight both men and women across centuries and cultures, and have a readability geared for advanced third graders. The biography passages contain rich vocabulary and invite an interdisciplinary approach to math. These are excellent opportunities to teach students to read critically for details and apply reading strategies. 

You may implement these biographies as an introduction to each unit if desired. Depending on your instructional goals, you may take 2 or 3 days to explore the mathematicians, ask students to participate in discussions, or respond to questions you pose for essays. When introducing each new mathematician, you might choose to include that individual’s picture on a class bulletin board or on the world map. At the conclusion of your instruction, students will see the diversity of people working in the field and be better able to see themselves as mathematicians.