Teacher Toolbox
Learning Strategies - Mathematics

Procedural Knowledge

Concept knowledge and procedures are connected and often learned simultaneously. Concept understanding provides children with the reasons why numbers, shapes, and values can be transformed. Procedural knowledge tells how to manipulate the concepts to alter the amounts, values, and forms to solve the problems.

Procedural knowledge is linked to effective problem solving skills.  Children need guidance on how to locate necessary information, create a representation of the problem, and select the mathematic application to solve the problem.

Teaching Strategies
  • Direct students how to analyze the math questions and select the pertinent information.

  • Instruct children how to represent information in different ways. For example, have children generate different ways to show 7. Show them how to select the most efficient method to represent an amount in relation to the problem they are trying to solve. Our math Mahjongg is a computer game designed to practice this skill.

  • Teach children to recognize the specific language that indicates an operation or procedure. 

  • Guide students to recognize the similarities between an equation and a spoken sentence.  Direct them to translate the spoken sentence into the symbolic form.  However, it is important that children understand the meaning of equals.  The equal sign does not mean an answer, it means that the sides of the equation separated by the = need to have the same value.  This will help to lay the foundation for algebraic thinking as children move toward more complex math.

  • Teach students the relationships among addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  For example, show students how to use fact family relationships such as subtraction to locate a missing number in an addition problem.

When Introducing Math Strategies
  • Link the strategy to the targeted concept.

  • Teach students how and when to use the strategy.

  • Provide guided practice for the child to use the strategy.

  • Once the child is proficient in using the strategy, introduce a new one and teach the child how to select the appropriate strategy from their choices.