## 5. Use appropriate tools strategically.

How are **middle school **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?

This area can be particularly frustrating for me. As a middle school teacher, you assume that students know how to use rulers, protractors, compasses etc., but it is always true that students are hindered by their lack of proficiency with math tools of all sorts. I find that it is well worth my time and energy to reteach students how and why we use various tools and provide hands-on instruction with each used tool. A teacher in my building gives her students a “driver’s test” for using graphing calculators. They need to pass the test in order to be able to use the calculators and they are awarded a license. The students love it AND can use a calculator effectively.

Evelyn, might you be able to share more details of the “driver’s test”? It would be great to share with folks! In case it’s helpful, you can email me directly using: suzanne at mathforum.org