Rule of 4

What is the Rule of Four?

The Rule of Four is a way to think about math both at the entry point of a task and in the representation of math thinking. Showing our thinking through multiple representations helps us have a stronger and deeper understanding of the mathematics. It also allows us to see connections across concepts and topics in mathematics.

Why use the Rule of Four?

When we strive to represent our understand using the Rule of Four, we are asking ourselves to find deeper connections both within and across concepts. In addition, it validates multiple perspectives in mathematics.

When would you use the Rule of Four?

The Rule of Four is appropriate for most math work. How much it is emphasized depends on the context.

How do you use the Rule of Four?

Student may not be familiar and/or fluent with representing their work in a variety of ways. Explicit modeling from the teacher and giving students many opportunities to practice representing their work in multiple ways is an effective way to teach students to think about their math work in this fashion. It is equally important that students make connections among the representations. These connections lead to a deeper understanding over time.

More about the Rule of Four

Find out more about research on how developing flexibility in math problem solving improves student's procedural and conceptual knowledge and flexibility.

This page was last updated on June 20, 2023