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Lessons and Activities for Building Powerful Numeracy

This book is filled with practical activities that promote strategies for teaching mathematics with as little memorization as possible. Through discussion, modeling, comparing, describing patterns, and making generalizations, students develop the mathematical understanding they need for success in higher math.

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Full Description

Building Powerful Numeracy for Middle and High School Students brought the world of research on numeracy at the elementary level to the secondary level, helping teachers build numeracy in their students and showing how that work supports students in understanding higher math.  Now, Pam Harris continues her work by offering lessons and activities that promote her strategies for teaching as much mathematics as possible with as little memorization as possible.

Two types of activities for building numeracy are included in this workbook:

  • Student Workouts include reproducible worksheets that students can work on independently or in pairs, followed by robust class discussion to promote understanding of the ideas.

  • Teacher Directed Activities are whole-class mini-lessons designed to help students construct numerical relationships as they work with the teacher.

While the student workouts provide starting points for students to build important numerical relationships and choose effective strategies, the teacher directed activities provide opportunities for discussing, comparing, modeling, verbalizing strategies, finding and describing patterns, and making generalizations.  Together they help develop the mathematical habits of mind that students need for higher math.

Additional Resource Information

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Chapter 1 Student Workouts for Addition

Chapter 2 Student Workouts for Subtraction

Chapter 3 Student Workouts for Multiplication and Division

Chapter 4 Student Workouts for proportions and Percents


Chapter 5 Problem Strings

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Fractions
  • Percents
  • Solving Proportions

Chapter 6 As Close As It Gets

  • Addition and Subtraction
  • Multiplication and Division
  • Fraction Addition and Subtraction
  • Fraction Multiplication and Division

Chapter 7 Relational Thinking

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division


Companion Resources


“How many of you have students who do not think about whether their answers make sense? Or students who use whatever method you taught them last for all kinds of problems, appropriate or not? The book Lessons & Activities for Building Powerful Numeracy gets students thinking about the reasonableness of their answers and makes them more flexible mathematical thinkers at the same time…It is a great, thorough book for both new and experienced secondary math teachers who would like to have their students develop better number sense.”

Lynne Menechella, MiddleWeb

“A major strength of the product is that the design of the questions can lead to great discussions on number sense and numerical relationships. The classroom dialogue examples were also beneficial. I recommend this book for middle school teachers to use in adding daily activities to aid in building numeracy.”

Catherine Willard, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School