Introduction to Group Work

Three heads and hands together in groupwork The SFUSD Math Core Curriculum is intended to promote discourse in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Each unit of study within the Core Curriculum has four rich math tasks as well as lesson series that are premised on group work and positive student-to-student interactions.

We use group work in mathematics to:

  • give students opportunities to "Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others" (SMP 3)
  • promote equity in heterogeneous classrooms
  • give students access to other ideas, encouraging divergent thinking
  • maximize active participation
  • give students opportunities for productive struggle 
  • give students opportunities to  communicate their thinking so others can understand and build on it

In order to use group work effectively, the teacher must:

  • organize the classroom to establish an environment that is safe and supportive
  • provide students with sufficiently rich problems to solve––problems that have a range of legitimate possible methods of solution with different levels of difficulty or abstraction
  • teach and reinforce responsible and respectful learning
  • develop student's ability to discuss, share, and work with others
  • give groups regular feedback on their process
  • explicitly value mathematical thinking, explanation, and argumentation, as well as divergent thinking
  • teach and support students being responsible for the respectful learning of all group members 

Here is a variety of research articles related to group work.

This page was last updated on October 21, 2022