Have you been curious to try using the RACE writing strategy in math? As teachers, we know that writing skills are essential for our students’ success in all academic subjects. However, writing skills are just as crucial in math class as they are in English class.

By teaching our students how to use the RACE writing strategy, we can help them to become better problem solvers. We can also help them develop critical thinking skills that will benefit them in all aspects of their lives.

Furthermore, we can prepare students for standardized test requirements that ask them to explain their thinking.

## What is the RACE Strategy?

The RACE writing strategy is a simple and effective way to help students cite text evidence in their writing. The acronym RACE stands for:

**R**estate the question**A**nswer the question**C**ite evidence**E**xplain

By following this strategy, students can learn to effectively connect their ideas to the text. They will get better at providing specific examples to support their claims.

This strategy is most often used in English Language Arts classes to help students organize their thoughts and write strong, evidence-based responses to reading comprehension questions. However, the RACE strategy can also be applied to math word problems. This way, students have a framework for breaking down complex problems and communicating their thought processes effectively.

## Why use the RACE strategy in math?

By teaching students the RACE strategy in math class, we can help them to develop a deeper understanding of math concepts and learn to think critically about problem-solving. Writing out the steps they took to solve a problem can also help students to identify any errors or misconceptions they may have had along the way.

In addition, teaching the RACE strategy in math can help students to improve their communication skills. Being able to explain their thought processes and reasoning can help students to work more effectively in group settings and communicate their ideas clearly to others.

Finally, summative tests like the STARR test in Texas demand that students produce written responses across subject areas.

Here are some tips for using the RACE writing strategy in math class:

## How can the RACE writing strategy be used in math?

The RACE writing strategy can be used in a math class to help students effectively communicate their thinking when solving problems.

One way to incorporate the RACE strategy into a math class is by providing students with word problems and asking them to write out their response using the RACE strategy.

**R**estate the problem in your own words**A**nswer the problem using math terms and concepts**C**ite evidence from the problem or the textbook**E**xplain how you arrived at your answer and why it is correct

## Example 1

Let’s take a look at an example word problem:

**Mr. Smith is putting up new shelves in his classroom. Each shelf is 36 inches long. He wants to put up 8 shelves in total. How much total length of shelves does Mr. Smith need?**

To use the RACE strategy to respond to this problem, students can follow these steps:

**R:**Restate the question: “Mr. Smith needs to know the total length of shelves he will need.”**A:**Answer the question: “To find the total length of shelves Mr. Smith needs, we need to multiply the length of one shelf (36 inches) by the number of shelves he wants to put up (8). This gives us a total length of shelves of 288 inches.”**C:**Cite evidence from the text: “The problem states that each shelf is 36 inches long and Mr. Smith wants to put up 8 shelves.”**E:**Explain or elaborate on your answer: “Therefore, to find the total length of shelves Mr. Smith needs, we can use multiplication, which is the process of adding a number to itself a certain number of times. In this case, we add the length of one shelf (36 inches) eight times, which gives us a total length of 288 inches.”

By using the RACE strategy to respond to this math problem, students are encouraged to think critically and clearly articulate their thought process. They are also able to effectively cite evidence from the text and explain their reasoning in a way that is easy to understand.

## Example 2

Word problem: **If a triangle has two sides that are 5 inches long and 8 inches long, what is the length of the third side?** **What is the length of the third side of the triangle?**

Response using the RACE strategy:

**R:**I need to find the length of the third side of the triangle.**A:**The Pythagorean theorem is a² + b² = c². In this case, I can use 5² + 8² = c².**C:**Using the equation 5² + 8² = c², I can calculate that c² = 89.**E:**Therefore, the length of the third side of the triangle is the square root of 89, which is approximately 9.4 inches.

By using the RACE strategy to break down this problem, the student has demonstrated their ability to restate the question, provide an answer, cite evidence, and explain their reasoning.

## Final thoughts

As teachers, it’s our responsibility to equip our students with the skills they need to succeed in all aspects of their lives. By teaching the RACE strategy in math, we can help our students to become better problem solvers, critical thinkers, and communicators. So why not give it a try in your next math class? Your students will thank you for it.

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