Math is a particularly important subject to use good discussion strategies, since there are often so many ways to solve a problem, and really understanding the concepts comes from being able to articulate them to others. We call this "Math Talk" and I like to break it down into three different pieces: Explain, Evaluate, and Extend.
ExplainThis is a familiar step in which students walk through the work they did to arrive at the solution. They will explain their steps and the conversation they were having about the problem in their mind so we can all get on the same page as to how they solved the problem. Listing the steps is an important part of this first section; this helps us as we get to any error analysis or alternative solutions in future steps.
EvaluateIn this part, other students can now chime in and either agree or disagree with the solver. In order to do either, they need to be able to back up their thinking with their own work and strategies, similar to the "Explain" step above. This forces students to look carefully and try to see where the student presenting did things differently. My favorite part of these conversations is not just correcting an error they may have caught, but it's in finding multiple ways to arrive at the same answer. It's a great opportunity for the students to be the teacher as they share their thinking about a problem.
ExtendThis final step is sometimes interwoven into the "Evaluate" step, but it has its own place outside of strategy-sharing. Similar to reading, I like students to make connections in their math work to other problems, strategies, or Math Talks to reinforce strategies and concepts throughout our entire year. I also like for them to ask questions of each other about the how's and why's of strategies. Sometimes this can seem pretty far-out, but allowing for this section to take place can also allow for follow-up around areas of misunderstanding or lingering confusion. I will also use this opportunity to model different strategies that may or may not work out, so that kids can see and hear me think aloud through various possibilities.
I hope this anchor chart around Math Talks can help your own class hold more in-depth conversations around problem solving and strategies. For more Accountable Talk stems and how I use them in class, be sure to see my Team Talk Pack on TpT HERE or read more HERE.