Interacting with Peers

Peer interactions can greatly benefit a student's understanding of mathematical concepts. To facilitate peer collaboration based on differentiated needs, teachers should pair students carefully, model effective ways to interact, provide students with relevant tools, and offer specific advice. Struggling students may find it especially helpful to interact with peers who can provide explanations, clarify a process, and ask and answer questions. This give and take involves listening, speaking, writing, creating visual representations, and using virtual and physical manipulatives.

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Read the Complete Interacting with Peers Teaching Strategy Guide

Exploring math together - discussing, reading, and writing about concepts - can build your students’ mathematical understanding. However, your students need your help to learn how to use their peers as resources, as well as how to be a useful resource for their peers. The strategies given here provide a strong starting point for differentiating instruction. Consider using digital communication methods such as blogs, emails, and text messages. (See UDL Checkpoint 8.3: Foster collaboration and communication.)


  1. Provide Clear Explanations
  2. Give Students Strategies and Models
  3. Provide Ongoing Formative Assessment