Show, Solve, and Explain: What’s the Difference Between Doing Math and Using Math?

students in library
Date: November 28, 2022
Presenter: Jay Meadows and Glen Warren
Time: 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Cost: Free
Location: Remote Webinar

Watch On-Demand

How we teach is based on our philosophy of how the brain learns. Asking students to move beyond getting the right answers in our math classrooms can have a profound impact on their ability to become flexible thinkers and effective problem solvers. These expectations also lead to dramatic differences in learning outcomes for students, including measurable outcomes on their end-of-year assessments.

Using performance tasks, we will explore how asking students to engage in rich mathematical problem solving and justify their conclusions with language, representations, and calculations creates neural networks between four distinct regions of the brain. Join us as we uncover a strategy for developing deep and lasting mathematical understanding for all students: solution writing. In this edWebinar, you will learn:

  • The difference between doing math and using math
  • What mathematics looks like in the brain
  • What types of problems inspire students to use mathematics
  • How use of a consistent rubric can drive teacher and student focus beyond calculations to deeper conceptual understanding and transfer
  • How to inspire students to construct their own understanding versus simply giving them algorithms
  • Research that supports this learner-centered approach

This edWebinar will be of interest to teachers, school and district leaders, and math coaches of the elementary and middle school levels. There will be time for questions at the end of the presentation.

About the Presenters


Jay Meadows serves as Exemplars’ Chief Executive Officer. He is a former middle school math and science teacher and has been working in education for more than two decades. Jay holds a Master of Arts in teaching from the University of Vermont and a master’s in mathematical pedagogy from Southern New Hampshire University.

Jay is also one of Exemplars’ primary performance task writers and professional development consultants for the middle level. Leading sessions throughout the United States, Jay works with teachers to integrate performance tasks and research-based best practices into their curricula. Through Exemplars, Jay dreams of teaching a generation of students to become powerful problem solvers. Prior to his career in education, Jay coordinated delegations from the former Soviet Union through U.S. State Department grants. Jay has also worked alongside a number of international non-profits and is a former Peace Corps Volunteer.


Glen Warren is the Encinitas Union School District Director of Literacies, Outreach, and Libraries, in other words, he is the LOL director. He co-wrote the California Model School Library Standards and the California Career Technical Education (CTE) Standards for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Glen is an Orange County Teachers of the Year, California Semi-Finalist Teachers of the Year, and was recently recognized by the California Reading Association with its first ever Literacy Leaders Award for 2018. The ultimate goal for his work is to revive and advance the LOVE of learning!

About the Moderator

Alaina Portrait

Alaina Cioffi is the sales director at Exemplars and works to support onboarding, customer success, and outreach. She is a former middle school math and social studies teacher and worked for almost a decade to support student success with problem-solving performance tasks.