Mathematics and Science Institute for Students With Special Needs

MSTAR Interventions

Scaffolding Instruction

  • Have students explain how they solve problems to help the teacher understand how students think about problem solution.
  • Think aloud as examples are solved so that the teacher’s thinking about the process is transparent.
  • Provide instruction in smaller “chunks” of content (fewer skills to learn) if lesson objectives contain too much instructional content.
  • Provide multiple opportunities for students to practice mathematical ideas in written form, in small groups, using online practice resources, in a game format, and so forth.
  • Include visual representations as part of instruction; link to abstract/symbolic representations to help students make connections. For example, number lines are useful to help students visualize concepts (e.g., equivalent fractions, multiplication facts) and to write the fraction that is represented on the number line.
  • Provide many examples that are specific to the mathematical ideas being taught; require students to discriminate examples from nonexamples (e.g., equivalent fractions and fractions that are not equivalent).
  • Use mathematical terms and synonyms throughout the lessons and have students use mathematical terms and provide synonyms as well.
  • Anticipate and prevent misconceptions. See the next section, Common Misconceptions and How to Prevent and Correct Them.