Problem solving as a means toward mathematics for all: An exploratory look through a class lens

Sarah Theule Lubienski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As a researcher-teacher, I examined 7th-graders' experiences with a problem-centered curriculum and pedagogy, focusing on SES differences in students' reactions to learning mathematics through problem solving. Although higher SES students tended to display confidence and solve problems with an eye toward the intended mathematical ideas, the lower SES students preferred more external direction and sometimes approached problems in a way that caused them to miss their intended mathematical points. An examination of sociological literature revealed ways in which these patterns in the data could be related to more than individual differences in temperament or achievement among the children. I suggest that class cultural differences could relate to students' approaches to learning mathematics through solving open, contextualized problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-482
Number of pages29
JournalJournal for Research in Mathematics Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Curriculum
  • Equity/diversity
  • Gender issues
  • Problem solving
  • Race/ethnicity/SES
  • Reform in mathematics education
  • Social and cultural issues
  • Teaching (role, style, methods)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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