Date of Award


Document Type

Action Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Education, Montessori

First Advisor

Alisha Brandon

Second Advisor

Sarah Hassebroek


Montessori Elementary Education, Elementary Education


Critical thinking consists of the mental processes, strategies, and representations individuals use to solve problems, make decisions, and learn new concepts. We observed our 6th-year students struggling with algebra functions and problem-solving. These observations motivated us to engage in active research to improve the students' critical thinking and problem-solving skills. We administered interventions that supported the language transfer between traditional mathematical language and Montessori mathematical terms. We utilized direct instruction with concrete algebra materials to lead the students to abstract work in algebra. We also used formal assessments and observations to decide what lessons the students should get next. Our explicit instruction included Hands-On Equations created by Borenson to provide students with a concrete representation of algebraic skills and guide them to abstract understanding. This action research occurred within an Upper Elementary Montessori classroom and included seven 6th-year students aged 11 to 12. Two Montessori co-teachers conducted the study within eight weeks during January and February of 2022. Overall, students showed improvement on assessments, enhanced interest in math, and increased confidence when utilizing their problem-solving skills on problems involving newly learned concepts.