Math Gallery Walk Questions

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Having a gallery walk can be a great way to get students thinking collaboratively and deeply. This lesson offers some questions you can use during a math gallery walk.

Using Gallery Walks in Math

As a math teacher, you might be searching for ways to keep students actively engaged in your class, promote their critical thinking, and help them take one another's mathematical thinking seriously. One way to do this is to use gallery walks in your instruction.

In a gallery walk, you post questions, models, or examples of student work around the room. Students can walk around in groups, pausing to read and consider each question. The gallery walk should be organized thematically and after students are done with their walk, they should be able to reflect on the underlying thinking behind this experience.

Though gallery walks are more frequently used in humanities subjects, they can be quite useful for promoting critical thinking in a math class. The questions in this lesson give you a sense of how a math gallery walk might look, but you should modify these questions to meet the needs of your students and the nature of your curriculum.

Elementary Math Questions

This section offers general questions that can be used for a gallery walk in an elementary math class.

  • What does it mean to add two numbers together? What about three numbers? How would you explain addition to someone who has no idea what it is?
  • What is the meaning behind subtraction? What are some real-life situations where you might find yourself using subtraction?
  • What kinds of pictures can you draw to represent a multiplication situation? How do these pictures or other graphic representations help you make sense of what multiplication actually is?
  • Describe what division is in the most concrete way you can. Think of an example of a time you might need to use division in your daily life, and talk it through with your partners.
  • What is the most important step to solving a story problem? Talk about how you approach a story problem from start to finish.
  • Why do you think patterns are important in math class? What are some examples of how patterns work and come into play in the world around you?
  • Given a number pattern like this: 3, 6, 9, 12, ..., how can you figure out what numbers would come next?
  • If you were representing data about the different ways students in your class get to school, what kind of graph or chart would you use and why?

Geometry Questions

Here, you find slightly more sophisticated questions that will prompt discussion in a gallery walk for a middle or high school geometry class.

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