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Building Thinking Classrooms

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Building Thinking Classrooms (BTC) is a set of 14 teaching practices for K-12 mathematics teachers developed by researcher Peter Liljedahl. The focus of these practices is to compel math students to do more thinking about mathematics than mimicking the mathematics they see their teachers doing.


For an in-depth look at all 14 teacher practices, it is recommended to read the book written by Peter Liljedahl linked below. Here is an overview of a few of the most popular of the 14 practices.

  1. Give Thinking Tasks – tasks that have a low-floor, high-ceiling, and degrees of freedom
  2. Use Visibly Random Groups – grouping students randomly that students can see is truly random
  3. De-front the Classroom – having no true front of a classroom encourages collaboration and equity
  4. Use Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces – students are more likely to begin a task, collaborate on the task, and share their learning when standing at non-permanent surfaces than when working with a notebook


Learn more about these ideas and Liljedahl’s work on his website: click here.

The Building Thinking Classrooms book can be found many places, including Amazon here: click here. (We do NOT receive compensation whatsoever for any sales resulting from clicking these links.)

Watch a video of Peter Liljedahl discuss these ideas here (below):

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