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 approach various problems.
  • 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).
  • Provide many examples that are specific to the mathematical ideas being taught; require students to discriminate examples from nonexamples.
  • Use the mathematical terms and synonyms throughout the lessons and have students use mathematical terms and provide synonyms as well.
  • Anticipate and prevent misconceptions. See Common Misconceptions and How to Prevent and Correct Them in the next section.