## 5. Use appropriate tools strategically.

How are **second** and **third ** grade teachers helping their students use appropriate tools strategically?

How can students be helped to:

- consider the available tools when solving a mathematical problem
- use pencil and paper, concrete models, a ruler
- identify relevant external mathematical resources
- use technological tools to explore and deepen their understanding of concepts

What are you doing to help students develop this practice? What makes it hard? What challenges are you encountering?

The first step in the teaching this habit of mind is to have the tools readily available in a very organized way. One fourth grade teacher in my school has a little “math tools corner” with labeled bins. The bins contain rulers, protractors, calculators, scrap paper, timers, counters, and other tools that students might need to work on finding a solution (or creating a problem for their peers).

If we always “pass out” the appropriate tool, we don’t give students the opportunity to make a conscious and thoughtful choice about which tool they need, or to learn from “failure” when they choose a tool that does not help them arrive at their solution.

These are great ideas, Julie. What might you suggest to a teacher who wants to implement the idea of a “math tools corner” but is a bit worried about crowd control. Are there any tips that you have to introduce this to students?