From speck to story: relating history of mathematics to the cognitive demand level of tasks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

48 Downloads (Pure)


It is a challenge for mathematics teachers to provide activities for their students at a high level of cognitive demand. In this article, we explore the possibilities that history of mathematics has to offer to meet this challenge. History of mathematics can be applied in mathematics education in different ways. We offer a framework for describing the appearances of history of mathematics in curriculum materials. This framework consists of four formats that are entitled speck, stamp, snippet, and story. Characteristic properties are named for each format, in terms of size, content, location, and function. The formats are related to four ascending levels of cognitive demand. We describe how these formats, together with design principles that are also derived from the history of mathematics, can be used to raise the cognitive level of existing tasks and design new tasks. The combination of formats, cognitive demand levels, and design principles is called the 4S-model. Finally, we advocate that this 4S-model can play a role in mathematics teacher training to enable prospective teachers to reach higher cognitive levels in their mathematics classrooms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-64
JournalEducational Studies in Mathematics
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'From speck to story: relating history of mathematics to the cognitive demand level of tasks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this