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What are mathematical habits?

These are the habits that mathematicians foster. They help us find solutions to difficult problems and assist with our learning.

Why are they important?

Like any aspect of life, our habits reflect our values and traits. Some habits, like estimation and reflection, are vitally important for mathematicians as they promote confidence and certainty.

But a habit doesn't become a habit just by ifself. By its very definition, a habit is something that you do repeatedly, often without knowing that you are doing it.

So, good mathematical habits need practice!

What's involved?

There are four habits we are going to focus on:

  • Estimation


    Mathematicians estimate or predict their answers before they attempt to solve a problem. This helps us reflect upon the reasonableness of our answers.

  • Looking for Patterns

    Looking for Patterns

    Mathematicians see patterns and relationships everywhere around them. It might be a simple pattern in a table of numbers or it could be complex statistical relationship.

    Searching for a pattern or relationship between two or more variables is one of the steps in mathematical modelling.

  • Self-Regulation


    Self regulation means the ability to design one's learning to suit the nature of the problem being attempted.

    It also refers to one's ability to monitor their progress and adjust to suit their needs.

  • Reflection


    When we finish solving a problem or complete a unit of work, it is important to reflect upon our work. We ask these questions:

    Why am I reflecting?

    What did I do? What did I learn?

    What connections did I make? Am I confident?

    Where to now? What else am I curious about?

    Click on the picture for a reflection sheet.